The New York Giants brought back Nigerian offensive tackle Roy Mbaeteka to the team’s practice squad Thursday.
In a corresponding move, the Giants lost Wyatt Davis off their practice as he left to sign with the New Orleans Saints to their 53-man roster.
Davis was a third-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2021. He bounced on and off of the practice squad and played in six games last season, appearing in just 28 special teams snaps with zero snaps on offense.
Then-Vikings general manager Rick Spielman drafted Davis last year. Minnesota fired Spielman in 2022 and hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who’s cut players not associated with the current regime. Minnesota released three of the four 2021 third-round picks made by Spielman. Davis, Chazz Surratt and Kellen Mond were the team’s third-round casualties.
The Saints had a need for Davis as the team recently placed offensive tackle Trevor Penning on IR with a toe injury. They also have three offensive linemen — Tanner Owen, Landon Young, Eric McCoy — listed as questionable for Sunday’s Week 1 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.
During Davis’s Ohio State days, he was considered to be a potential first-round pick after 2019 and was named a unanimous All-American in 2020. However, he injured his knee twice during his college tenure and caused him to be picked at No. 85.
Injuries and showing up to training camp out of shape have led to uncertainty surrounding Davis.
The Saints will hope to rewrite the history of Davis’s still very-young NFL tenure.
More on Mbaeteka
Mbaeteka, 6-foot-9 and 320 pounds, is a native of Nigeria and was discovered by Umenyiora at a tryout camp in Nigeria in May of 2021. From there, Mbaeteka found his way to the NFL through the help of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program.
Because of Umenyiora, Mbeateka signed with the Giants in early 2022.
“It’s like a mentorship,” Mbaeteka said in April of his relationship with Umenyiora, via Giants.com. “I really respect him. He gave me a shot. He took a shot at a stranger, someone he’s never met before, and here I am. It’s all because of him.”
Umenyiora, who lived in Nigeria as a youth, described Mbaeteka as “extremely intelligent.” Since retiring from the NFL, Umenyiora has continued to make visits to Nigeria in search of NFL talent.
“I realized there are so many incredible athletes over there — I’m talking a hundred times better than I was as an athlete,” Umenyiora told the team’s official website. “And they have no chance of bettering their lives, no chance to actually do something constructive with their lives because of the situation over there.”
Mbeateka had very little prior football experience before joining the Giants and was with the team in training camp. The preseason games were Mbaeteka’s first games as a football player. Mbaeteka played in 39 offensive snaps for the Giants, all at left tackle. In 29 pass block snaps, he allowed four pressures, according to PFF.
The Giants released Mbaeteka on September 1 but have now brought him back.
Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes that Mbeaeka’s release was temporary and that he’s a raw prospect who will need time to develop.