2024 NFL International Player Pathway spotlight: Bayron Matos, OL, Dominican Republic

The NFL International Player Pathway Program class of 2024 was recently announced as 16 players from various backgrounds will compete for spots on NFL rosters this year. In an NFL IPP class dominated by Irish and English specialists Dominican prospect Bayron Matos may be the class’s most intriguing prospect.

The 6’9 290 pound offensive line prospect aims to reach the NFL through the NFL International Player Pathway Program as he was one of the 16 players from around the world selected to compete for their spots on an NFL squad in 2024.

Instituted in 2017, the NFL International Player Pathway program is designed to give elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.

Matos’s athletic journey is one of the more fascinating ones in this year’s class. Coming out of the Dominican Republic, Bayron excelled at the country’s national sport, baseball, as a youngster, pitching in the low 90s with a fastball, curve, changeup, and slider in his arsenal, as well as showing great power as an outfielder.

As a teenager, Matos moved to Tennessee without knowing a word of English to pursue his athletic dreams. As he continued to grow into his 6’9 frame Matos eventually became a three-star basketball prospect leading the state in rebounds. His play and size earned him offers from Illinois, West Virginia, Florida, Auburn, and Mississippi State. However, Matos chose the New Mexico Lobos.

After an initial redshirt season, Matos finally made his debut for the Lobos in 2021,  playing in 20 games, starting 15. He averaged 6.0 ppg and 4.1 rpg while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 39 percent from the foul line, even posting three double-digit scoring games and four games with seven or more rebounds.

The next season Matos transferred to the University of South Florida. During the 2021-22 season, he played in 28 games and made four starts for USF basketball in the 2021-22 season, averaging 1.5 ppg and 2.7 rpg while playing 10.6 minutes per game.

That’s when Matos football journey began as he walked onto the Bulls football team during spring practice. The USF coaches initially put him on the defensive line hoping he could turn into a “field goal rim defender” if you will. However, during the 2022 fall season, Matos made the switch to the offensive line.

In January of 2023, Matos entered the transfer portal looking for new opportunities. However, instead of joining another NCAA team, it looks like he’s found his next athletic endeavor with the NFL IPP.

His path so far is not too dissimilar to that of former NFL IPP player Sammis Reyes out of Chile who entered the program after playing NCAA basketball for four seasons. Reyes recently ended his NFL career after playing for three seasons with the Jaguars, Bears, and Commanders.

Since its inception, 37 international players have signed with NFL teams (allocated, drafted, and or signed as a free agent), with 18 IPP athletes currently on 2023 NFL rosters.

Five players – Jordan Mailata, Jakob Johnson, Efe Obada, Sammis Reyes and David Bada – have seen active rosters with the Philadelphia Eagles, Las Vegas Raiders and Washington Commanders, since the program began in 2017.


Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and