A look at Australian-born New York Jets’ tight end Hayden Smith, and his chances for NFL success in 2013.[caption id="attachment_21249" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Image via @Hayden_Smith_[/caption] Aussies in Camp is a new series detailing some of our Down Under talent getting ready for NFL training camps. Hayden Smith’s journey into the NFL was very unique to that of most players, and even different from most Australian-born NFL players. Smith, born in Penrith NSW and growing up in the Blue Mountains, earned a basketball scholarship at the Metro State College in Colorado where he grew fond of American sports. Smith then went to England, where he played professional rugby union for the Saracens, as well as representing the US national rugby squad. After four years with the Saracens, Smith turned his eye towards American football and earned a number of tryouts, eventually sticking with the New York Jets’ practice squad in 2012. Smith was called up to the active squad in Week 8, and played in five games, recording a single reception in Week 16 against the Chargers. Standing 6’6” and 255 pounds, Smith has the measurables of a prototypical NFL tight end. Smith and the Jets will enter training camp on July 25th. Prospects for 2013 In a recent interview with the Jets’ official website, Smith shared that although learning a new offense (offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is installing the West Coast system in New York this year) has its troubles, it's nowhere near as difficult as last season. “The good thing about the second year is I no longer have to learn all those big schematic things. I can relate some things to things I learned last year, but once again obviously a new offense. The whole process of learning it is a lot easier the second time around.” In his first season, Smith was troubled by problems that most American kids would learn playing in high school or earlier -- things like correctly putting on his helmet, and learning basic terminology. Now he’s got those down, Smith is able to focus more on the game and his immediate assignment. “A lot of the stress and the thinking have been lifted, so it allows you to kind of be out there and focus on the execution of what you’re trying to do rather than wondering, ‘Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?’ So it really is a very nice feeling to be out there a second time around as opposed to last year.” Competition The New York Jets have six tight ends on the roster entering training camp, including Hayden Smith. The incumbent starter is Jeff Cumberland, who rose to prominence last year as Dustin Keller (now departed for Miami) faded, and posted a respectable stat line of 29 receptions for 359 yards and three touchdowns. Veteran Kellen Winslow II has joined the Jets for his ninth season in the NFL, his last appearance being one game for the Patriots. Winslow is by far the most experienced tight end on the roster with 23 touchdowns and almost 5,000 yards to his name, but his lack of playing time in 2012 may be a harbinger of his retirement. Smith’s closest competition is fellow second-year player Konrad Reuland, who was active in every game last season, including three starts, and can boast 11 receptions to Smith’s one. The Jets also added two undrafted free agents at the position, Mike Shanahan (no relation) and Chris Pantale. Another factor that must be considered when debating if there is a roster spot for Smith is the number of players at similar positions. The Jets are taking two fullbacks into camp, as well as 14 wide receivers – there may only be room for three tight ends on the final 53-man roster. Season prediction The fact that the Jets were happy to spend a roster spot last season on a player still learning the game bodes well for Smith’s chances to make the roster in 2013, who now has a real chance to contribute meaningfully on the field. There is a chance that Smith hasn’t climbed the depth chart at all, with Winslow replacing Keller, but he’s been given every chance to participate in a full NFL offseason and earn repetitions and playing time as the perhaps third or second-string tight end. Smith’s chances of sticking to the roster are helped even more so by stories that the Australian is a great locker room presence – Smith has brought an espresso machine to his locker, and enjoys serving his teammates coffee after practice in an attempt to befriend the team. Whilst the Jets could surely secure a cheaper barista, Smith’s good locker room influence is one that is valued highly by coaches and in sore need in New York. My prediction? Smith is active for each game as the third tight end, and catches 20 balls for 175 yards and one touchdown. Who does he catch them from? Rex Ryan probably doesn’t even know himself.