NFL International Player Pathway Program’s English OL Travis Clayton gaining 2024 NFL Draft Buzz

The NFL has seen several rugby players over the years make the transition to the NFL through the NFL IPP program with mixed success.  Another prospect with a rugby past to join the growing list is English IPP prospect Travis Clayton. The Basingstoke, England native also has a background in boxing as he looks to turn his background in several sports to his advantage as a NFL Draft prospect.

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.

Clayton 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 6’7 303-pound offensive line prospect apparently surprised scouts with his size, quickness, strength, flexibility and explosion. Clayton ran a blazing fast 4.79 40-yard dash and had 35-inch arms at his pro-day turning the heads of scouts in attendance.

Following the impressive pro-day outing,  Clayton visited the Pittsburgh Steelers on a top 30 visit and had various private workouts with other NFL teams. Currently, there is some buzz that Clayton could be taken as a day three draft pick in next week’s 2024 NFL Draft. NFL IPP scout Mark Dulgerian hinted at Clayton 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.”

Clayton, 22, has the size needed to play offensive line in the NFL at 6’7 and over 300 pounds. The former rugby player also has always spent a significant time in the sport of boxing. This isn’t the first time the Englishman native has flirted with American football as he was part of the NFL Academy in 2019.

NFL IPP Scout Mark Dulgerian mentioned Clayton’s incredible progress during the NFL International Player Programs 10-week training process stating Clayton was one of the most improved athletes he’d seen go through the program.

“I’ll highlight that Travis Clayton’s has really emerged as one of our highlight guys, and really one of the of the guys that has  progressed the most. In my opinion, from day one to the last day, he’s one of the guys who were obviously had the size at 6’7 and 300 pound. He looked awkward at first doing those offensive line movements and then looked like an entirely different player by week six.”

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.

Clayton along with fellow offensive lineman Bayron Matos and Jotham Russell have a serious chance to become only the third NFL IPP player selected in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

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