NFL International Player Pathway Program spotlight: Leandro Santos da Fonseca, OL, Brazil

As one of three Brazilians at the NFL International Player Pathway program combine in Monterrey Mexico, Leandro Santos made the most of the long trip from his home country to northern Mexico.

After a stellar showing at the combine, Santos has been selected to take part in the NFL International Player Pathway program pushing him one step closer to the pros.

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

So far, the program has helped players such as Jordan Mailata (Philadelphia Eagles/Australia), Sammis Reyes (Washington Football Team/Chile), and Jakob Johnson (New England Patriots/Germany) earn roster spots in the NFL.

At the combine, scouts from around the world  immediately saw Santos’s massive frame at 6’5″ 270 pounds and how well the long-armed lineman moved through the drills.

The young Brazilian comes from a basketball background playing as a power forward for many years. In 2018, he found his way to the football field in Brazil, initially starting as a wide receiver. However, the physical specimen soon found his way to a three-point stance playing defensive end in 2019 for the Remo Lions in Belem, Brazil. The transition paid off as he averaged two sacks a game for the state runner-up Lions in 2019.

Preparing for the NFL, Santos is looking to switch positions again, moving from defensive end to the offensive line. Much like fellow Brazillian and current Miami Dolphins guard, Durval Queiroz Neto, Santos hopes to master the technique of offensive line in a short time and earn a spot among the world’s best.

Watch Santos at the NFL International combine in Mexico


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