International players who made NFL rosters

With NFL 2022 training camps in the past and the first 53 man rosters now set, all focus is on the opening games of the National Football League season coming up this weekend.

Among the hopefuls who have made their way onto NFL rosters are a number of international players, born and raised outside of North America.

Let’s take a look at the top eight international non-kickers and punters who will playing this weekend.

Bernhard Raimann – Indianapolis Colts – Austria – OL

The 6’6″ 305 pound native of Vienna, Austria is a product of the Vienna Vikings youth program in Austria and grew up playing wide receiver and tight end in one of Europe’s best programs. Raimann then attended high school as an exchange student in Michigan and played football there leading to an offer from the Central Michigan University Chippewas. He was moved to offensive line and developed into one of the top offensive linemen in the country, earning All Conference honors.

He was drafted in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

Hjalte Froholdt – Cleveland Browns – Denmark – OL

The 6’5″, 315 pound, 22 year old native of Svendborg, Denmark who played football in his native country for the Søllerød Gold Diggers, first went to the United States as an exchange student in 2013. He landed in Ohio where he started playing football to make friends but excelled and moved to the IMG Academy in Florida towards the end of his high school career. He earned a 4-star recruiting grade there and after offers from a number of major schools ended up with the University of Arkansas Razorbacks where he played guard and center.

He was the fourth-round pick of the Patriots in the 2019 NFL Draft where he stayed until becoming a free agent last year.

Efe Obada – Washington Commanders – Great Britain – DL

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton is tackled by Buffalo Bills DE Efe Obada #93 during NFL game Dec. 19–2021 – AP Photo/T. Barnes.

Washington signed defensive end Efe Obada, who made his NFL debut in 2018 when Rivera and executive VP of football and player personnel Marty Hurney were in charge with Carolina.

Obada had 3 1/2 sacks and 12 tackles in 10 games with Buffalo during the 2021 regular season. The 29-year-old who was born in Nigeria and grew up in the United Kingdom first drew interest in 2015 as a raw talent. He later signed with Dallas, Kansas City and Atlanta but did not play.

George Karlaftis – Kansas City Chiefs – Greece – DL

George Karlaftis

The 6’4″, 275 pound Karlaftis moved to the US from Greece at the age of 13 and played a number of sports in high school but took up football and excelled. He earned a scholarship to Purdue  where he started in all 12 games as a freshman, recording 54 tackles and 7.5 sacks. A positive COVID test sidelined him after three games in 2020. He declared for the 2022 NFL Draft following the 2021 season in which he recorded 4.5 sacks.

Karlaftis was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round (30th overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Jakob Johnson – Las Vegas Raiders – Germany – FB


The 6′, 3″, 255-pound Johnson spent the past three years with the New England Patriots (2019-21) after joining the club as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program, having spent time with the Stuttgart Scorpions of the German Football League in 2018. Over his NFL career, Johnson has appeared in 37 games with 20 starts, recording 13 receptions for 83 yards with one touchdown.

Johnson originally came through the Stuttgart Scorpions program in his native Germany, starring on the U19 team before moving to Jacksonville, Florida in his senior year of high school. He was a four-star recruit in high school and joined the Tennessee Volunteers as a linebacker.

Jordan Mailata – Philadelphia Eagles – Australia – OT

Philidelphia Eagles Jordan Mailata holds off Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Lyndon Johnson 92 in a preseason game Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP.

The 24-year-old behemoth (6’8″, 348 pounds) only starting playing American football five years ago so “meteoric rise” would not be an exaggeration in describing his development. Add to this the fact that he sat out all of the 2018 and 2019 NFL seasons, and it becomes even more impressive.

Mailata, a former Australia rugby league player, beat out former first-round pick Andre Dillard for the job of protecting the blindside of quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Daniel Faalele – Baltimore Ravens – Australia – OL

Daniel Faalele runs onto the field on Oct. 6. at TCF Bank Stadium. The Hawkeyes defeated the Gophers 48-31. Photo: Tony Saunders

Standing at 6’8” and nearly 400 pounds, Faalele was a sensation before he stepped on the field to play for the University of Minnesota Gophers. The Melbourne, Australia native was discovered while playing rugby and basketball in his home country. It did not take long before the Australian behemoth was headed to the IMG Academy, where his mere size caught major attention. Despite all the jokes and memes about his height and weight, he has put together an impressive college career, and recently played in the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl. 

He was picked in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Ravens.

Adam Gotsis – Jacksonville Jaguars – Australia – DT

Australian defensive lineman Adam Gotsis has been brought back to the Jacksonville Jaguars active roster three days after the veteran defensive end was released. The veteran defensive end will be entering his third season with the Jaguars. 

Before joining Jacksonville, the 6’4″, 290 pound, 29-year-old Gotsis, a native of Melbourne, Australia, had played with the Denver Broncos for four seasons after being drafted by Denver in the second round (63rd overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft.

In his two seasons with the Jaguars, 2020 and 2021, Gotsis appeared in 32 games and recorded 64 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. His career totals with Denver (2016-19) include 109 tackles, 13 passes defensed, 5.0 sacks and two forced fumbles.

A four-year letterman at Georgia Tech with 37 starts, Gotsis started his football career in Australia after discovering the game playing Madden football. He attended Kew High School in Australia and competed in Australian Rules Football for eight years before playing American Rules Football in the Gridiron Victoria for the Monash Warriors in Melbourne where he earned league MVP honors in 2010.

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!