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NFL Draft in London sees UK Jaguars fan play starring role in front of worldwide audience


A UK NFL fan played a starring role in front of a world-wide audience of millions at the 2016 NFL Draft after announcing the Jacksonville Jaguars' picks live from London.

Attracting audiences of more than 45 million people, the Draft is one of the crown jewels of the NFL off-season and Hamish Shilliday, 29, won a competition run by the team for the chance to announce the Jaguars' sixth-round picks.

Jags fan Hamish, who is head of fundraising at Birmingham St Mary's Hospice, represented the UK with Tower Bridge as his backdrop on the NFL Network as he first made Tyrone Holmes' dreams come true by announcing his selection by the Jaguars. Holmes, a defensive end from the University of Montana, was the Jaguars' fifth selection of this year's Draft.


Hamish had been due to announce the fifth-round pick, but with Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell using the pick the night before to trade up and select exciting linebacker Myles Jack in round two he had to wait until round six for his moment.

Hamish said: "It was absolutely brilliant to play my part in the Draft. I will obviously be keeping a close eye on Holmes' career and when he goes on to become a superstar I'll be able to say it was me who introduced him to the NFL – that would be incredible!

"I didn't really have any nerves to be honest. It was just really exciting to be involved and I had a fantastic time with the Jaguars team and can't thank them enough for the opportunity.

"I've been a fan of the Jags for such a long time. I think the Draft picks by the team this year have been brilliant and I can't wait to see them come and play in London in October!"

There was also an added twist to the day as Jaguars defensive tackle Michael Bennett joined Hamish for the proceedings. Bennett has a special affinity with the city as it was where his drafting by the Jaguars was announced this time last year – the first ever Draft announcement to be made outside the US.


After seeing quarterback Brandon Allen also being announced by Hamish in the sixth round, the 23-year-old reflected on the time waiting to hear his name called in 2015.

Bennett said: "It is a lot less stressful being on the other side this year around. Waiting for that phone to ring was one of the most nerve racking experiences of my life but the feeling when I was selected was the best.

"It is great to be here in London, where it all began for me, and it's fantastic to be able to include our fans in the UK in occasions like this. They are just an awesome part of the Jaguars so I hope by including them in things like this they will keep doing what they're doing."

With the Jaguars' ongoing commitment to play one home game each year in London, the team was continuing to honour its UK fan base after making NFL history last year by having Draft picks announced outside the US for the first time in its history.

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