The Three Incredible International NFL Players to Watch

In the 2015 NFL Draft, 12 foreign born players were selected, raising the number of foreign born players that now occupied the NFL rosters. In 2016, the NFL took it a notch higher, thanks due to the pragmatic and the tireless efforts of the retired New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora. Umenyiora is currently serving as the NFL ambassador to London. For the very first time in the history of the NFL a foreign-born player without ties to America was chosen in the NFL Draft. It remains unclear which path the online NFL betting odds will take to reflect this development.

Moritz Boehringer, a wide receiver from German Football League, was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the 6th round of 2016 NFL Draft. He joins Anthony Dablé, a French wide receiver who signed as a free agent with the Giants. The two became the first foreign born players to join the NFL without the intervention of the North American football league or the NCAA College.

It is worth noting that there exist other foreign –born players like Nigerian Emmanuel Ogba of the Cleveland Browns, Markus Kuhn, German defensive tackle, New England Patriots, and Canadian center Brett Jones, Giants, whose respective move to the NFL were sort of generally expected.

Below is a quick glance at what makes Dablé, Boehringer and the others spectacularly unique and the reason why it is a good sign for NFL moving ahead.

1. Wide Receiver, Moritz Boehringer – Minnesota Vikings

Moritz made history after he became the first ever foreign-born player to be selected straight from Europe in the NFL draft . This was not anticipated and it caught most of the American football fans by total surprise.

Vikings coach, Mike Zimmer, told the NFL Network back in April that was a quintessential case of a dream come true. The 227 pound, 6-foot-4 German, caught the attention of many during the Florida Atlantic University Pro-day after running 4.43 40 yard dash.

Among the first note this incredible feat was Rick Spielman, the Vikings General Manager. He added that they spend a considerable amount of time overturning the rocks discovering talent and go for it where they find one.

Last season, Boehringer hauled 59 receptions for 1,232 yards as well as 13 touchdowns for Schawbisch Hall Unicorns. He discovered American football at the age of 17, but only played at competitive level in 2013 with most of the insight coming from NFL highlights on the YouTube.

Since his introduction to the American football, he has been very quick in his studies and catching-up with the other first-year teammates.

Boehringer told the Pioneer Press on his first day of training in the camp in July that there is a lot of room to improve, but his ultimate test will be on August 12, when the Vikings will be taking on the Cincinnati Bengals.

2. Wide Receiver, Anthony Dablé – New York Giants

Heavily decorated, Anthony Dablé became the second player of French descent joining legendary Richard Tardits who played with the New England Patriots during the 1990-1992 seasons as a linebacker.

In contrast to Tardits, Dablé did not play college football in America. It is amazing however to note that he won two national titles and European Championships with the Braunschweig’s New Yorker Lions immediately after moving from Germany.

Dablé, 27, was handed a workout with the Giants after reference courtesy of Osi Umenyiora. Amazingly, after a single afternoon with the general manager of Jerry Reese and company realized his potential immediately, this led him signing a three-year contract with the Giants.

Dablé discovered the game after watching an NFL Quarterbacks’ Club video game which he promptly fell in love with. Yet 18 years down the road, he is in a unique position many of his countrymen have never had. His aim is to earn himself a regular season playing time as well as contribute in the field the best way he can.

Dablé hauled 75 receptions for the 1,251 yards and 15 touchdowns last season in Germany. The 220 pounds, 6-foot-4 Frenchman has become Giants’ tallest receiver since Plaxico Bureess. Although this is not enough to earn him a spot on 53-man roster, he will surely gain tremendous knowledge in the preseason and throughout the training camp.

3. Tight End, Harry Innis, Free Agent

Innis, 265 pounds, 6-foot -7, from the United Kingdom may currently not have his own NFL team, but he continues indefatigably working towards the dream which took shape since he was a child.

Innis in July told the NFL Network is a professional fitness instructor grew up in London, but his granddad frequently visited Chicago to see family. He returned with a jersey of Walter Payton as a present for him. Once he reached the requisite age, he was able to understand what the jersey signified and who Walter was. He instantaneously became obsessed, especially by the 1985 Bears with William Perry being his favorite player.

Innis, 27, played for German Football League‘s Kiel Baltic Hurricanes in the last season, and looked like a man among boys. He utilized his large frame to harass defenders, his speed to dust the linebackers and his unparalleled running to out shadow safeties.

Earlier during the off season, he worked for the New York Giants together with Dablé. Despite him not getting what he yearned for, his journey to the NFL is not yet over.

Innis is attempting to play rugby this 2016 season in France.

These three talents, whether or not they make a name for themselves in NFL, it is definite that the leagues will stand to benefit. The NBA, MLB and NHL bring international talents which have expanded their brand and boosted their talent pool.

So far, the Giants and the Vikings seem to be reaping the benefits of the move, so it is expected that there will be more international imports in the beginning of 2017 and beyond.

 

AFI
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