Curious Case of Carlin Isles: USA Rugby Star Joins NFL

Isles going through drills with the Lions' practice squad.
Please Share.

CLIFTON PARK – We’re skipping the NFL Picks this week because, frankly, my picks this season were not as accurate as I had liked them to be. But what can you do? Sometimes the ball doesn’t roll your way. But sometimes it does and it certainly took a strange bounce in the direction of one, Carlin Isles.

Isles going through drills with the Lions' practice squad.
Isles going through drills with the Lions’ practice squad.

The fastest man in American rugby” joined the Detroit Lions’ practice squad Thursday morning, after a spot cleared up. Isles, now a wide receiver, brings a lot of talent and experience to the table in the NF – but it’s in Rugby 7s…  At 5’8″, Isles has the size to be a prototypical slot receiver. However, what is most attractive about this prospect is his blazing speed. Isles has been previously clocked running a 4.22 40-yard dash, which is comparable to that of Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson.

Unlike recent crossover athletes Hayden Smith and Daniel Adongo, Isles is coming over to the NFL with some football experience. Isles was a prolific kick returner at the Division II Ashland University, holding school records for longest kickoff return touchdown and most kickoff return yardage in a game. Isles kick return skills will bode well for him as he learns the Detroit Lions playbook going into the off-season.

Goodwin is preparing to take on the New England Patriots defense Sunday.
Goodwin is preparing to take on the New England Patriots defense Sunday.

Yet the superlatives for Mr. Isles don’t stop on the pitch; he is also one of the top sprinters in the nation. In 2012, Isles measured as the 36th fastest 100-meter sprinter. Isles’ speed is what caught Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz’s eye.

He’s got great speed,” said Schwartz, according to The Detroit News. “That’s probably the biggest thing. He’s a legit track guy. His background happened to be rugby, but it’s probably more track.”

I mean, you’re looking for athletes. … There are skills you can develop. If you see something you like, you can work with him.

NFL teams are always looking for speed… look at the Buffalo Bills for instance. The Bills used a third-round draft pick this past April to draft University of Texas wide receiver and U.S. Olympian Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin has flourished with Buffalo registering three touchdowns this season, each at least 40-yard receptions.

Carlin Isles could be the Lions’ Marquise Goodwin… or not. Thought?

P.s… The NFL might want to watch this:

About DJ Eberle 198 Articles
DJ Eberle is easily the largest of the RWU Team; Offensive Tackle Large. In fact, this Albany native played OT for Western New England University until he graduated in 2014. Like Junoir Blaber, he's moonlights on His Dad played prop with Johnathan Wicklow Barberie and Matt McCarthy - who also in a moonlighter. DJ's cross to bear, however, is his love for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. There is hope, though, that his genetic inclination for Rugby, will cure him of that! Follow him on Twitter: @DJEberle66