Top Five International Players Drafted In The NFL In 2016

With every NFL draft there are always a a number of players who catch the eye. Some for obvious reasons, others because they are relatively unknown. There are some top international players currently in the NFL but who is among the new batch of players from other countries that will hopefully set things alight in the new season?

Rees Odhiambo – Seattle Seahawks (Kenya)

NFL - Seahawks - Rees Odhiambo - seattlepi photo

Photo: Grant Hindsley/Seattle PI

Odhiambo moved to Texas from Nairobi, Kenya with his family when he was just six-years old. However, his sporting career didn’t start for a while. He didn’t even start playing football until he was in high school. But his skill within the game developed quickly. The offensive guard was picked up by his college team, the Boise State Broncos after a stellar high school career.

Full of versatility and power, Odhiambo has the ability to play both tackle positions and guard. Unfortunately he suffered a broken ankle in his senior year which trimmed down some of his playing time and perhaps put some of his suitors off. Nevertheless, the Seahawks were not put off by his lack of playing time and recognised his undoubtable talent, drafting him in the third round as the 97th overall pick.

Moritz Boehringer – Minnesota Vikings (Germany)

NFL - Vikings - Boehringer - espn.go photo

Photo: Minnesota Vikings

It’s been quite a journey for Boehringer who at this time last year was playing football in Germany for the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns. But after being drafted in at the sixth round and 180th overall of this year’s NFL Draft by the Vikings, there is no doubting that he is quite a specimen.

He managed an incredible 4.43-second 40-yard dash, 39-inch vertical leap and 10-foot-11 broad jump at the Florida Atlantic pro day. In terms of athletics he is already among the top in the NFL. The German has top quality written all over him. He managed 59 receptions for 1,232 yards, along with 13 touchdowns in 16 games last year. Although the Vikings may realise they have a precocious talent on their hands, the German is now a little fish in a big pond and must come to grips with a new level of play.

Although he has been playing American football for the past three years, he is facing an entirely different level of play in the NFL.

Adam Gotsis – Denver Broncos (Australia)

NFL - Denver - Gotsis - rookie camp - adelaidenow photo

Photo: Adelaide Now

It’s amazing to think how good Adam Gotsis is considering the fact he grew up playing Aussie rules football in Melbourne, Australia. He turned to American football and after playing for Australia’s national team in the 2011 IFAF World Championships he signed to play college football for Georgia Tech.

The Denver Broncos selected him in the second round as the 63rd pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. There’s a chance that Gotsis might have been a first-round pick had it not been for a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Even though he was unable to attend an NFL Scouting Combine he was still a top prospect.

At 6’4 and weighing in at 287 pounds, he is more than capable of dealing with inside line play. He has a great push off the snap, with the stats to back it up. He recorded 17 ½ tackles for loss and 12 ½ sacks in 37 starts. Gotsis obviously has great potential, being a two-time All-ACC selection. As long as he remains fit he will have a good chance of staying on with the Broncos.

Caleb Benenoch – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Nigeria)

NFL - Caleb Benenoch - Tamp Bay - insidesocal.cim photo

Photo: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Benenoch didn’t get into football in the most traditional way. He had moved from Lagos, Nigeria at the age of nine with his family, who were big soccer fans, to Katy, Texas. His mother then accidentally signed him up for football, mistaking it for soccer (known as football throughout the rest of the world).

But it was a good thing Benenoch’s mother made that mistake. The young Nigerian is full of potential. He’s big, strong and athletic, weighing in at 305 lbs and standing at 6’5. He started 35 games last seasons for UCLA playing both at guard and tackle. In total he was part of an offensive line which surrendered just 14 sacks, the second fewest in school history.

His outstanding performance at UCLA led to him being picked in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft as the 148th player to be drafted. Because of his stature, realistically he would be best suited in zone blocking schemes. But the Bucs have a good player on their hands who should be able to produce at the highest level.

Emmanuel Ogbah – Cleveland Browns (Nigeria)

NFL - Cleveland Browns - Emmanuel Ogbah - clevelandcbslocal photo

Photo by Daryl Ruiter CBS Cleveland

The big outside linebacker moved to the US from Nigeria at the age of nine. He made the choice to go to college in Oklahoma, having been advised to by Russel Okung, another Nigerian NFL player. Selected in the second round Ogbah was the 32nd overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft.

He should do well with the Browns, having plenty of ability and power to deal with things. As a sophomore playing for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Ogbah was named the Big-12 Defensive player of the Year after recording 12 ½ sacks and 16 ½ tackles for loss. He set a school record with 19 quarterback hurries as a junior and finished his three-year career with 26 ½ sacks and 36 ½ tackles for loss.

 

Edward Wade
A journalism sports graduate from Sheffield University, Edward resides in London. He loves American football and the NFL but writes mainly about soccer. His stories can be found in Thinkfootball and Backpage Football.
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