The NFL’s International Player Pathway’s best shine at Arizona State’s Pro Day

The Arizona State Sun Devils facility saw an overwhelming majority of NFL teams at their Pro Day as an unofficial count had 29 of the 32 teams scouts in attendance to view the upcoming draft-able talent.

Among the Sun Devil prospects were 12 international players participating in the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program.  These players all have various football experiences, hailing from nine different countries including The Netherlands, Austria, Germany, France, Nigeria, Latvia, Brazil, Mexico, and the UK.

In a facility filled with division one pro prospects, Germany’s Marcel Dabo had scouts buzzing. The 6’1 210-pound defensive back first caught the attention of teams by jumping a 40.5 inch vertical. A height that would’ve been elite at the NFL combine last month.

Dabo continued to demand attention running a blazing fast 4.42 40-yard dash, broad jumping 11’3, and grinding out 21 reps on the bench press. The European League of Football’s defensive player of the year, reportedly met with around 20 teams following the workout.

The 11 other global prospects also performed well, however no testing numbers have been released. Nigerian offensive lineman Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi and Chigbo Roy Mbaeteka caught the eyes of coaches as the relatively raw players have the size to play on Sundays, at 6’9″, 290-pounds and 6’8″ 300-pounds respectively. Mexico’s Hector Zepeda also looked good in drills as he hopes to follow former Mexican college football teammates Alfredo Gutierrez and Isaac Alarcon to the NFL.

For Brits Ayo Oyelola and Adeayo Odeleye the pro day was their second crack at the the NFL as the two completed in the International Player Pathway Program last year, performing at the University of Florida’s pro-day. Austrian pass rusher Leonel Misangunkini was also part of the program last year, however an injury prevented him from a full pro-day workout.

Latvia’s Ralfs Rusins showed his versatility working out as an offensive lineman and defensive lineman. The 6’6 prospect played five season at Liberty University (NCAA DI) starting three seasons as a nose tackle. Dutch tight end Thomas Odukoya also has NCAA experience as an all-conference performer for Eastern Michigan (NCAA DI).

Turning north to Canadian college football, Souleymane Karamoko of France was a standout defensive back at the Université Laval in Quebec. His experience showed has his fluid hips and soldi footwork fit in with ASU’s defenders.

Two players with limited experience but intriguing football traits are Nigeria’s Kehinde Hassan Oginni. The 6’5 former hooper has played receiver and tight end, but currently eyes a move to the defensive line. Brazil’s  Leandro Santos is another former basketball player who transitioned from defensive line to offensive line during this years program. The big man has only played football for three seasons.

Now that pro-day is done, the international players wait and hope to be signed as a free agent or be selected for allocation to a practice squad. The practice squad allocation would occur following the NFL draft, while some players may sign free agent contracts soon as Washington’s Sammies Reyes did last year. These NFL hopefuls will have to sit tight as they look to represent their countries at the games highest level.

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