The development of many football leagues around the world has helped the game grow on a massive scale. However, the one area that could grow further is the volume of the non-US players to be drafted into the NFL, or make it another way.
The natural route of progression is for players to play for a college team in America before being drafted into the NFL after being thoroughly scouted by the various teams who are interested. But with so many leagues developing and constantly bettering themselves across the world, are we at a point where the NFL will begin to look elsewhere and value those leagues, alongside what they already do with the American college system?
One prime example of a league developing at a rapid rate, and helping young homegrown talent, is the German Football League. The top two clubs in Europe are currently from Germany, while seven of them appear in the top 20 list, after seeing a dominant spell over the past few seasons.
In 2016, we saw a real sign that the NFL was beginning to take things seriously in Europe when Moritz Bohringer was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round. He became the first European selected in the draft who had not played any college football when being picked up by the Vikings. They are playing very well this season, and clearly have a great eye for a player.
They are around +300 favourites to win the NFC Conference this season, after a strong showing throughout, and a shot at the Super Bowl is well within their reach. They can be backed at +700 to lift the Lombardi Trophy, and if they continue to play well and impress, those odds will surely decrease further. The NFL is changing rapidly and leagues elsewhere in the world could have a huge impact in the direction it heads.
Bohringer has since been waived and is now a free agent in the NFL, but his rise through the German Football League is one that will never be forgotten in his home country. The youngsters in Germany have seen someone live their dream, and now they are chasing it too, so it is no surprise that focus is being put on the German Football League by NFL teams.
One thing that will continue to help the German youngsters is the strength of the GFL, who have yet again been out signing some big names, to stamp their authority as the best league in Europe. Just recently we have seen the Frankfurt Universe sign quarterback Steve Cluley for the upcoming season, a player who attended a New York Giants minicamp not too long ago. That is a signal of intent for the club in Frankfurt, but it shows the way that the league is going as a whole.
The strength of the German league is great news for youngsters based in Germany. They can learn from extremely good players at a young age, and now they have a role model to look up to who made the NFL from playing in Germany, that is sure to only spur more youngsters on.