NFL International Combine Invites: European Defenders

This year’s NFL International Combine will return to London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium October 3-4 as 20 European prospects make the short trip to London in hopes of impressing NFL scouts and being selected for the NFL International Player Pathway program.

Several Europeans have made their mark on the NFL through the program including, Efe Obada (UK, Washington Commanders) and Jakob Johnson (Germany, Las Vegas Raiders). The European prospects invited this year hail from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland.

Because we have such a long list of European talent on the NFL’s radar this year, let’s take a look at the European invites on the defensive side of the ball.

Flamur Simon – LB/DL – 6’5 250 – Germany

Simon is the second Cologne Centurion on the invite list. The tall edge defender put up 76 tackles, five sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, and two interceptions this past season, wowing Centurions fans. The 22-year olds rare combination of size and speed has impressed coaches far and wide. Simon was offered a scholarship in early 2020 from the University of Massachusetts (NCAA D1) along with receiving interest from other college programs. The massive defender is rumored to run a sub 4.7 40-yard dash. He was also named to the ELF All-Star team. 

Alejandro Fernandez – Edge – 6’2 240 – Spain

The young Spaniard came on the scene this year for the Barcelona Dragons making 15.5 sacks, 40 tackles, and 21.5 tackles for a loss. Fernandez was a huge part of the Dragons turn around this past season as they made the European League of Football semi-final. The 21-year-old made several clutch plays throughout the season helping Barcelona en route to its post-season run. He was also named to the ELF All-Star team.

Arthur Mbahin – DL – 6’5 265 – UK

Mbahin is a long-armed British defensive lineman on this list who most recently suited up for the Tamworth Pheonix and Coventry University Jets. The 24-year-old has only been playing American football for just over two years. Mbahin ran track in his youth before finding his way to the gridiron. He was invited to the combine last year and also worked out for the CFL Global program this past spring. 

Jai-Albert Jackson – Edge – 6’4 250 – UK

2021 NFL International Pathway Player Marcel Dabo’s teammate in Stuttgart, Jai-Albert Jackson also joins the invite list. Before heading to southwest Germany in 2021, Jackson was a defensive captain of the Hertfordshire Cheetahs in the UK. The 25-year old also played for the London Blitz and University of Hertfordshire Hurricanes before joining the European League of Football. Jackson spent this past summer playing for the London Blitz again and was scouted for the CFL Global Draft.

Watch Jackson’s film here:

Emmanuel Falola – LB – 6’2 230 – UK

Falola is a physical linebacker who shined this summer while playing for the Bristol Aztecs. The 24-year-old linebacker was a University League All-Star selection in 2019 as a member of the Coventry University Jets. Falola started playing football at the age of 19, after playing basketball and rugby as a teenager. He was invited to the combine last year and also worked out for the CFL’s global player combine.

Watch Falola’s highlights

Lucky Ogbevoen – LB – 6’’3 230 – Austria

The Austrian national team member made 79 tackles and 10 tackles for a loss this past season for the Raiders Tirol. Ogbevoen played for the Vienna Vikings and Stuttgart Surge before coming to the Raiders last year. He hopes to become the next fourth Austrian in the NFL joining former teammates with the Vienna Vikings in Arizona Cardinals tight end Bernard Seikovits and Indianapolis Colts lineman Bernard Raimann. It would be quite an impressive seat to see the Vienna Vikings produce three current NFL players. This would give them more current NFL players than NCAA D1 FBS schools such as UNLV, James Madison, or Akron.  The speedy linebacker also named to the ELF All-Star team after an impressive campaign with the Raiders

Watch Ogbevoen’s highlights

Kevin Fortes – DB – 6’2 205 – France

Fortes was a playmaker on one of Europe’s best defenses last season making 17 tackles, three interceptions, and scored one touchdown for the Hamburg Sea Devils. Fortes has played all over Europe suiting up for top teams in France, Finland, and Germany. He was also named to the ELF All-Star team after being one of the key players on Hamburg’s fierce defense. 

Watch Fortes’s highlights

Abel Saint Amand Daufour – LB – 6’1 230 – France

The physical linebacker is a product of the Saint Ouen l’Aumone Cougars a prestigious French team near Paris. Daufour showed some athletic ability as a standout for Europe’s Elite camp in the past as well as PPI recruit events testing well in the 40 yard dash and other drills. 

Stanley Zeregbe LB 6’2 240 France

Zeregbe is a veteran of European football having played in both Germany and his home country. This past season he was a force on the Berlin Thunder defense putting up 44 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, and six and half sacks. The 24-year old is also a member of the French national team, and has played for several clubs in Europe including the Ravensburg Razorbacks, Thonon Black Panthers and Flash de la Courneuve.

Watch Zeregbe’s highlights

Lino Schroeter – LB – 6’2 230 – Germany

Schreoter came on the scene this summer and made a splash in the German Football League. The young defender put up 42 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, and five sacks in his second season playing at the GFL1 level. He also was an all conference high school player at in the US and played for the Troisdorf Jets before coming to Cologne. Schreoter was named a GFL All-Star for his performance last season. 

Watch Schroeter’s highlights

Harlan Kwofie – DB/WR – 6’2 210 – Netherlands

Kwofie played for the Düsseldorf Panther and Assindia Cardinals before bursting on the scene last season for the European League of Football’s Rhein Fire. The 23-year old put up 707 yards and seven scores on 41 catches as the Fire and coach Jim Tomsula’s primary big play threat. He was also named to the ELF All-Star team. 

Tyrese Owusu-Bediako – DT – 6’3 285 – Netherlands

The 22-year old put up 14 tackles,1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for a loss this past season in former San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Tomsula’s defense. The dutch defender spent 2021 playing junior college football in the US at the Kansas powerhouse Garden City Community College. He played for the Arnhem Falcons and the Dutch national team in his home country before taking his talents abroad. 

Tim Haenni – DL – 6’5 270 – Switzerland

The listed only Swiss player was a standout last season for the Hamburg Sea Devils in the European League of Football, racking up 41 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 14.5 tackles for a loss. The 25-year old previously played for the Bern Grizzlies of Switzerland, where he helped them reach the championship in 2021. He was also named to the ELF All-Star team. 

Watch Haenni’s highlights

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