2024 NFL International Player Pathway spotlight: George Smith, OL, England

The NFL has seen several rugby players over the years make the transition to the NFL with up-and-down success. The latest rugby standout to try his luck in pads is English IPP prospect George Smith.

Smith takes aim at the NFL  for a second time 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.

Instituted in 2017, the NFL International Player Pathway program aims 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.

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.

Smith stands out on the rugby pitch with an impressive 6’9 280-pound frame, that towers above the other players. The Coventry native played for his hometown Coventry Rugby Club from 2022 onwards.

Smith hopes to follow in the footsteps of Jordan Mailata of the Philadelphia Eagles who went from rugby pro to All-Star NFL tackle.

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