NFL Draft 2022 Day 3: International Players stay patient in the draft’s final stages

The final day of the NFL Draft features not only those players drafted in rounds four through seven but also all those dream chasers who will be picked up following the last pick as undrafted free agents. Taking a look at day three there are plenty of international players who will be drafted and certainly picked up as free agents.

But first, a quick recap of day two, as Austria’s Bernhard Raimann was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round with the 77th overall pick. Scottish and Nigerian pass rusher David Ojabo of Michigan was drafted early in the second round with the 45th overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens.

Let’s take a look at the NFL Draft’s remaining global trailblazers.

Thomas Odukya TE Eastern Michigan 6’6 260:

The Almere, Netherlands born tight end was a team captain for EMU in 2021. His physical play style and excellent blocking made him a pre-season Mackey (best TE) Award nominee. Yet, his limited receiving production of 13 catches for 130 yards and two scores might make it hard for him to break into the NFL. Expect a team to pick Odukya late in the draft or as a high priority undrafted free agent due to his exceptional blocking. Read more here

Bamidele Olaseni OT Utah 6’7 350

Olaseni is one of the draft’s biggest prospects, his rare size and elite wingspan make him one of the draft’s most intriguing late round prospects. The London native played for the London Blitz in England before going to the US.

Olaseni is coming off of a strong season for the Utah Utes where he started every game at left tackle for the Rose Bowl runner ups. Prior to 2021, Olaseni was a backup for the Utes and played junior college football at GCC. However, Olaseni is already 26 years old and tested poorly at his pro day. This pushed him down draft boards for many teams. The large Londoner could be picked up in the late rounds as teams will want to develop a player with his rare size. Read more here.

Daniel Faalele OT Minnesota 6’9 380

Another massive offensive lineman in the draft is Australia’s Daniel Faalele. Once a high school viral sensation Faalele has went on to have an excellent career as a Minnesota Gopher. Coaches rave about his combination of size, speed, and nimbleness. As the draft largest lineman, he has shown the ability to toss grown men aside like they’re toddlers.

The knock on Faalele is his consistency and potential ability to keep up with the NFL’s ultra-quick pass rushers. As the saying goes, you can’t coach 6’9″ 380 so expect teams to pick up the high upside Australian around the fifth round. Read more about Faalele here.

Jordan Genmark Heath LB UCLA 6’2 225 

Converting a safety to linebacker usually turns out well. This year was no exception as the Swedish linebacker played an excellent season for the UCLA Bruins notching 55 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and one interception. Yet it’s his only real season of production and his pro day number left scouting wanting more. Heath fits the mold of the NFL’s new age linebacker well and could be picked up by teams late or just after the draft. Read more here

Marcel Dabo DB Stuttgart Surge 6’1 205

The young German defensive back was the European League of Football’s defensive rookie of the year last year, making 22 tackles and one interception. The Stuttgart native has impressed scouts at his Pro Day putting on an athletic display rivaling many first rounders. Dabo, part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program, ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, jumped a 40.5 inch vertical, and benched 21 reps at 225 putting himself on draft boards across the league. The raw 21-year-old has all the tools to become an impact NFL player. So don’t be surprised if a team takes a chance on him late in the draft. Read more here.

Tre Ford QB Waterloo 6’1 195

Ford, a Canadian quarterback, has shot up draft boards this spring. The ​​Hec Creighton award winner (Canadian Heisman) ran a 4.45 forty-yard dash and threw well during the University at Buffalo’s Pro Day. If he isn’t picked up in the late rounds, expect to see the passer from north of the border scooped up as a high commodity undrafted free agent. 

Punters & Kickers:
There are many international punters that will get drafted or picked up right after the draft. The list includes 
Australians Ben Griffitths, (USC), Blake Hayes (Illinois), Kirk Chistodoulou (Pittsburgh), Mitchell Crawford (Michigan State), Corey Dunn (Iowa State), and Canadian Jake Julien (EMU). Place kicker Rafeal Gaglianone of Wisconsin could also be picked up shortly after the draft. Experts won’t be surprised to see two or three more Australian punters join the NFL this weekend

International Player Pathway Prospects:

13 players are part of this year’s class, including Olaseni, Odukoya, and Dabo. Two players from this year’s group have already signed NFL contracts, as Nigerian offensive linemen Haggai Chisom Ndubisi and Chigbo Roy Mbaeteka signed as free agents to the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants.

Two to four more players in this group will be allocated to NFL teams following the draft. Brits Ayo Oyelola and Adedayo Odeleye along with Austrian Leonel Misgumkini are back for second time in the program hoping to get picked up this time around. Other prospects that have impressed so far are Mexico’s Hector Zepada, Ralf Rusins of Latvia, and France’s Souleymane Karamoko. Read about the full list here.

Photo via NFL

These global dream chasers and others will have a shot to prove themselves this summer in NFL camps. With the historic number of international players picked up this year, we are sure to see a few of these global gridiron stars make an impact on Sundays this fall.

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