Mexico NFL International Combine Invites are an array of talents

Last week, the NFL announced it would be holding a second NFL International Combine to be held this Saturday, October 23rd in Monterrey, Mexico.

Similar to the London NFL International Combine that took place on October 12th, these international athletes will be performing a variety of athletic tests and drills in front of NFL scouts, media, and personalities.

The Mexico NFL International Combine boasts an exclusive list of athletes, nine of whom hail from the host country. Additionally, there is one Italian and three athletes from nearby Brazil who will be in attendance.

These players, among others, are competing for a chance to be selected as part of the NFL International Pathway Program.  Instituted in 2017, the program aims to provide elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.

Currently, the NFL IPP program has helped three Latin American athletes make their way onto NFL teams. Isaac Alarcón (Dallas Cowboys) and Alfredo Gutierrez (San Francisco 49ers) of Mexico and Chilean Sammis Reyes (Washington Football Team) are all part of their respective NFL teams.

Positionally, the Mexico NFL International Combine will host four offensive linemen, three defensive backs, two tight ends, and one receiver, running back, and defensive lineman.

Let’s take a look at the list 

Monterrey Tech offensive lineman Hector Zepada Photo Credit: Maximoadvance

Hector Zepada (Mexico) 6’5″ OL

Zepada hopes to follow in the footsteps of former teammates Isaac Alarcón and Alfredo Gutierrez and join them in the pros. The 23-year-old played with Alarcón and next to Gutierrez in 2019. Now after watching their success, he’s hoping to and become the third Mexican offensive lineman from Monterrey Tech’s principal campus in the NFL. If the Borregos heavy trend continues, Zepada is likely to be picked up by an NFL team.

Ryan David Gómes (Brazil) 6’0″ DB

Gomes was born in the US but raised in Brazil. He first suited up for the Belo Horizonte Galo club before moving on to the Mexican college football scene. At the La Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Gomes competed against some of the top talent in South America. The speedy defensive back was picked up and signed by the Ottawa Redblacks in the 2021 CFL Global Draft. However, he was released in May.

Hector Siller Photo Credit: Monterrey Tech CEM

Hector Siller (Mexico) 6’2″ OLB

Siller is no stranger to football in the United States, as the Mexican played in high school football in the pigskin crazed state of Texas. Sillier then moved on to college football with the Mexican powerhouse Monterrey Tech Borregas Mexico City Campus. The 225 lb defender had his best season in 2019, racking up 57 tackles and one sack. Many scouts see him as one of the group’s potential standout prospects.

Agustín Palacios (Mexico) 6’5″ OL

Palacios played for the powerhouse UNAM Pumas program in Mexico City. The 290 lb offensive lineman should have no problem playing in front of big crowds as he’s competed in some of Mexico’s biggest rivalry games over the course of his college career. The young offensive lineman was surely coached well at a college program with a history of 37 national championships.

Pollys Junio Sacramento (Brazil) 6’3″ OL 

Sacramento may be familiar to fans of European football, as the Brazilian was a key part of the Berlin Thunder offensive line in the European League of Football. The 23-year-old Brazilian previously played America Locomotive in Belo Horizonte Brazil. Sacramento is the 15th player from the European League of Football to be invited to NFL International Combines.

Rodrigo Jurado (Mexico) 6’2 OL

Jurado has jumped around in his career, playing for three different college programs in Mexico. He most recently suited up for the University of the Valley of Mexico where he became the starting guard for the Linces.

Monterrey Tech receiver Juan Carlos González

Juan Carlos González (Mexico) 6’5″ TE/WR

The massive target has suited up for the Monterrey Tech Borregos Guadalajar Campus. González played both receiver and tight end in his college career and was known as an excellent red-zone target. The physical receiver reminds some scouts of Austrian receiver turned tight end Bernhard Seikovits, who is now with the Arizona Cardinals.

Leandro Santos (Brazil) 6’6″ DL

Santos is a long-armed defensive end who last played for the Remo Lions in Belem Brazil. The former hooper started playing football in 2018 and gravitated to the wide receiver position. The next season, Santos bulked up and switched to defensive end. The transition paid off as he averaged two sacks a game for the state runner-up Lions in 2019.

Giustino Silvestro of Italy Photo Credit: Anáhuac University

Giustino Silvestro (Italy) 6’2″ WR

The lone European in this list arrives at the combine after a solid career in Mexico’s college football league. The globetrotting receiver played high school football in California, then starred for the Lazio Marines of Rome before accepting a scholarship to play college football at Anáhuac University in Mexico City. As a member of the Leones, Silvestro won the Mexican national championship and put up 20 receptions for 388 yards and five touchdowns, all while also serving as the team’s kicker.

Claudio Montalvo Garza (Mexico) 6’2″ TE/FB

Garza was a key part of the Authentic Tigres UANL offense throughout his college career. The former youth quarterback beefed up to 265 lbs and became a versatile weapon as an H-Back in the Tigres offense. Garza was praised by his coaches for his physical blocking and soft hands.

Alex Montini Photo Credit: Leones Anáhuac Cancún

Axel Montini (Mexico) 5’7″ RB

Montini is a stocky running back who played for the Anáhuac Cancun Leones. While playing for the Leones Montini racked up 1,914 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns showing versatility as a runner, receiver, and kick returner. He is also a member of the Mexican national team.

Juan Alamillo (Mexico) 6’1″ DB

Alamillo is a 195 lb defensive back who played for the Autonomous University of Coahuila Lobos. With the northern Mexican team, Alamillo won rookie of the year and led his Lobos to the Aztec Bowl. The impressive college season earned him a chance to represent Mexico at the 2018 World University Football Championships, held in Harbin, China.

Jose Cajiga Photo Credit: Suevaldivia

Jose Cajiga (Mexico) 5’11″ DB

Cajiga was star defender for Mexico City’s Águilas Blancas IPN. With the Blancas, Cajiga made 129 tackles, one sack, and six interceptions. Nicknamed the “Submarine” Cajiga also served as the team’s kicker and kick returner. The versatile defender also played for Mexico’s under 19 team.

With two South American’s chosen by NFL teams in last year’s NFL International Pathway Program, scouts are back to find more diamonds in the rough. Saturday’s combine will feature 13 of the best players south of the US border, and potentially another future NFL pro.

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football