NFL International Player Pathway Program OL Bayron Matos gains serious 2024 NFL Draft interest

As the 2024 NFL Draft approaches one unlikely prospect gaining some buzz is Dominican offensive lineman Bayron Matos. Matos has already racked up several visits with NFL teams despite never playing a down of college football.

The 6’8 315 pound offensive line prospect aims to reach the NFL through the NFL International Player Pathway Program as he was one of the 16 players from around the world selected to compete for their spots on an NFL squad in 2024.

Instituted in 2017, the NFL International Player Pathway program is designed to allow elite international athletes to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.

Matos impressed scouts in March of this year as he was part of the University of South Florida’s Pro Day along with the other 15 players in the 2024 NFL International Player Pathway Program. The massive offensive line prospect apparently surprised scouts with his quickness, strength, flexibility, and explosion. Below are Matos’s unofficial numbers from the Pro Day giving him an impressive 8.48 RAS score.

Following the impressive Pro Day outing, Matos’s has had visits and private workouts with 14 NFL teams to date and is being talked about as a day three draft pick in next week’s 2024 NFL Draft. NFL IPP scout Mark Dulgerian hinted at Matos being selected in the Draft in an interview held last week with AFI:

“It’s probably the most attention the program has received since its inception. I think that it’s going to reflect on Draft weekend.”

NFL IPP Director James Cook had a similar sentiment when speaking with the NFL media:

“Travis Clayton and Bayron Matos blew up the pro day. Teams are starting to look at them with serious consideration for draft picks and have set up top 30 visits for both prospects.”

Previously, only two NFL International Player Pathway athletes have ever been drafted as the Philadelphia Eagles took Jordan Mailata in the seventh round of the 2018 draft  and prior to that, German wide receiver Mortiz Bohringer was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 Draft. Matos has a serious chance to become only the third NFL IPP player selected in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

Matos’s athletic journey is one of the more fascinating ones in this year’s class. Coming out of the Dominican Republic, Bayron excelled at the country’s national sport, baseball, as a youngster, pitching in the low 90s with a fastball, curve, changeup, and slider in his arsenal, as well as showing great power as an outfielder.

As a teenager, Matos moved to Tennessee, without knowing a word of English, to pursue his athletic dreams. As he continued to grow into his 6’9 frame, Matos eventually became a three-star basketball prospect leading the state in rebounds. His play and size earned him offers from IllinoisWest VirginiaFloridaAuburn, and Mississippi State. However, Matos chose the New Mexico Lobos.

After an initial redshirt season, Matos finally made his debut for the Lobos in 2021,  playing in 20 games, starting 15. He averaged 6.0 ppg and 4.1 rpg while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and even posted three double-digit scoring games and four games with seven or more rebounds.

The next season, Matos transferred to the University of South Florida. During the 2021-22 season, he played in 28 games and made four starts for USF basketball in the 2021-22 season, averaging 1.5 ppg and 2.7 rpg while playing 10.6 minutes per game.

That’s when Matos football journey began as he walked onto the Bulls football team during spring practice. The USF coaches initially put him on the defensive line hoping he could turn into a “field goal rim defender”. However, during the 2022 fall season, Matos made the switch to the offensive line.

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