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20th Mar 2024

Rory Beggan achieves incredible kicking feat at NFL Pro Day

Michael McQuaid

Rory Beggan

The Monaghan goalkeeper is turning plenty of heads with his impressive kicking feats.

Rory Beggan went 10 from 10, on Wednesday, in a kicking challenge in front of scouts from 31 NFL teams. Pro Football Ireland’s Michael McQuaid reports on a busy evening in Tampa for SportsJOE:

Almost three weeks ago, four Irish athletes from a GAA and rugby backgrounds made history when they participated in the NFL Combine for the first time.

On Wednesday, Rory Beggan, Charlie Smyth, Mark Jackson and Darragh Leader took a step closer to making an NFL roster when they took part in the NFL’s Pro Day for the International Player Pathway Program, which has seen athletes such as Louis Rees-Zammit and Harry Mallinder participate. Here’s how the cohort got on:

Rory Beggan shines in the Florida Sun

It was a standout day for Rory Beggan in Tampa, Florida. The Monaghan man did not miss a kick on the day, going 10 from 10. Initially, Beggan impressed in kick-outs under the eyes of 31 one scouts from teams across the league.

It was one hell of a performance from the man from Scotstown. Rory Beggan dominated the field and looked relaxed and ready for any challenge that would come his way.

“It went well”, Beggan said to Conor Mangan, of Leader Kicking and Pro Football Ireland. “There was a nice progression from the combine – I was happy with how it went.”

The internet reacted accordingly:

Louis Rees-Zammit ‘tug-of-war’

Wales and Lions flyer Louis Rees-Zammit is also turning heads after impressive outings at the NFL Combine and Pro Day.

RugbyPass is reporting that Rees-Zammit ‘is the subject of a three-way tug-of-war between American NFL sides offering him in the region of $900,000 a year to sign up for their summer training squads’.

The 23-year-old reportedly received offers even before scouts from all 32 NFL franchises watched him in action. On Wednesday, at the University of South Florida, the Welsh star clocked a super 4.44s in the 40-yard dash, then excelled in the position drills.

An improved Mark Jackson

Wicklow goalkeeper Mark Jackson scored seven out of his ten field goal attempts. One thing that really showed from Jackson’s performance was the improvement in his kicking accuracy and height of his kicks – one literally hit the roof.

Jackson looked more calm and composed on the field in Florida in his Pro Day. Prior to kicking field goals, he was excellent in his punting, showing a real sign of progression from only the start of March in Indianapolis.

Charlie Smyth turning heads

The youngest of the bunch is Mayobridge man Charlie Smyth. The Down man went eight of ten with his field goal attempts earlier today, with some absolutely superb kicks.

An NFL coach told me during the week that Charlies athleticism and youth could really put him in a good position to be signed by a team – after seeing how he performed on his Pro Day, This doesn’t surprise me at all.


Mayobridge man Charlie Smyth after his Pro Day in Florida! nfl

♬ original sound – Pro Football Ireland – Pro Football Ireland

Darragh Leader in punting action for the first time

Former Connacht rugby player Darragh Leader was in action after missing the NFL Combine fully through injury. Leader decided to give himself the best chance of performance on his Pro
Day and while he had to eventually stop due to what seems like an slight injury, he had some extremely solid punts alongside Mark Jackson – you could hear how impressed scouts were
beside him.

Also, Leader put on a show in the weights room….

What’s next?

That’s it. The NFL Combine and Pro Day events are over for the Irish cohort, but they may still be invited to private workouts and other events where they may need to show off their skills privately.

They are free agents – they can sign with a team anytime. For Leader Kicking’s Conor Mangan who was present at the Pro Day, it is obvious that the next steps are huge.

“It’s clear that the Irish athletes excelled at the pro day, not just with kicking, but with punting also,” he said. “In fact – it makes one wonder: If they’re this good after just their second combine, how good would they get in a training camp with a team? What about pre-season? It’s hard to even tell where the ceiling is with these lads at the minute. One thing is for sure, its exciting times for the NFL in Ireland.”

Interested in the NFL Pro Day? You can follow Pro Football Ireland on all socials this weekend (XInstagramTikTok and Facebook) for live updates from the Combine in Indianapolis.

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