Former Gold Coast Suns-listed player Patrick Murtagh has turned heads after being picked up by the Detroit Lions in the NFL. Normally when news like this breaks, it's assumed it's to fulfill punting duties, yet this time there's a twist as Murtagh attempts to make it as a Tight End.

The 23-year-old has made his way onto the Lions' roster as part of the NFL International Player Pathway (IPP) program, the very same program that unearthed former NRL prospect Jordan Mailata for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Mailata's story has been arguably one of the most successful for the program, after the man-mountain signed a lucrative 4-year $64 million ($40 million guaranteed) deal with the Eagles before playing in the Superbowl earlier this year.

Murtagh has the opportunity now to earn a spot on the Lions' final roster ahead of the NFL season kicking off in early September. Should he fail to secure a spot on the final roster however, he can still be kept on in the Practice Squad using an exemption.

The Tight End position in the NFL is a highly specialised one, part blocker for the Quarterback and part Wide Receiver, good Tight Ends are worth their weight in gold. It's a physical position where size, strength, athleticism and some explosiveness are required.

At 196cm and 98kg, Murtagh has the raw attributes for the role. As a former state decathlon champion, he spent three years on the Suns list before being delisted in 2022 and joining the IPP.

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After the success of Mailata, the IPP is beginning to shape as a legitimate option for Australians athletes who have moved on from Rugby or Australian Rules and should Murtagh make the most of this chance, it may become a much more well-trodden path.