London ball

London NFL International Combine: Offensive Stars

Graphics: Igor Lazarevic

Last Tuesday, 40 young athletes from more than 14 different countries tried their luck NFL dreams at the NFL International Combine. Under the open roof of Tottenham hot spur Stadiumin cloudy weather London daytime, these NFL The Dream Chasers showed why they were selected as elite prospects for the NFL’s International Player Pathway program.

Established in 2017, the NFL International Player Pathway program aims to give elite international athletes the opportunity to compete in the NFL level, improve their skills and ultimately earn a place on a NFL listing.

While all the guests presented their strengths and weaknesses in front of NFL scouts, coaches and media, a few players stood out from this year’s field of participants.

Today we’re going to take a look at some players who have turned heads and possibly earned a chance at NFLstarting on the attacking side of the ball.

Ricki Matsui (Japan) catches the ball Photo: NFL UK

Ricki Matsui – WR – Japan
from Japan The only invitation to the combine, Matsui’s athletic performance created quite a buzz among the scouts. The 6’2 receiver backed up his stature with elite speed posting a lightning-fast 4.41 dash for 40 yards. In addition to having the fastest 40 in the combine, he achieved an impressive vertical jump of 36′.

Talent evaluators were very excited about Matsui’s athletic ability, as it complements his accomplished career on the pitch in his home country. The 25-year-old wide receiver is an impact player in from Japan XLeague winner of last year’s title game MVP with the Fujitsu Borders.

Running back Tyrese Johnson-Fisher of the United Kingdom during the International Player Combine Photo NFL UK

Tyrese Johnson-Fisher – RB – UK
At 5’10 215 pounds, Johnson-Fisher is built like an NFL running back. In positional drills, he continued to look the part showing great speed, agility and good hands in the backfield. He also posted the combine’s second fasted 40-yard dash at 4.47. The London The native was once a viral rugby sensation amassing millions of views for his highlights.

Since then, the 22-year-old has transitioned into football playing in the Under Armor All-American game as the first-ever international player. He then spent a season at Coastal carolina (NCAA D1) and another at Copy lincoln (college student). This summer he dressed for the Istanbul Rams of the ELF and his hometown London Warriors. Learn more about Johnson-Fisher here:

Jason ‘Chu’ Godrick running the 3-cone drill Photo: AP

Jason ‘Chu’ Godrick – OL – Nigeria
The Nigerian the lineman turned heads as soon as he entered the stadium. Standing at 6’5 and a lean 295lbs, Jason is only at the start of his football journey but is already passing the eye test. The 21-year-old comes from a basketball background but was encouraged to try football by his coaches at Educational Basketball.

Since then, the power forward turned offensive lineman has been scouted by former New york Giant Osi Umenyiora and soon joined his Uprise Academy. As many Nigerian the football player ‘Chu’ has very limited experience on the pitch having never played in an official match. However, trust will not be a problem.

Tight end John Levi Kruse of Germany during the International Player Combine Photo: NFL UK

John-Levi Kruse – TE/FB – Germany
One of the most intriguing prospects of the day was fullback and tight end John-Levi Kruse of the Hamburg Sea Devils. After losing the league game just two weeks ago, the 25-year-old looked natural stepping out of the backfield to catch passes and block as a fullback.

This was the bruise blockers’ second time at the NFL International Combine. This time, he hopes to be selected to train in the United States. Interestingly, the National crew player refused an offer from canadian Soccer League this spring to continue playing in the European Football League and continue the NFL’s IPP program playing for his hometown.

He could bring value to an NFL team as the fullback position dwindles. An extra player with those skills could come in handy any Sunday. just look at my boy German and Jakob Johnson, an alumnus of the NFL International Pathway Program, who is now the starting guard of the Las Vegas Raiders. Read more about John-Levi Kruse

Hector Zepada – OL – Mexico
Mexican Hector Zepada’s technique stood out during the exercises, as he brings excellent football experience from the college football system developed by his country. The 6’4″ lineman spent last season training with the NFL IPP program but was not assigned to a team.

The Mexican The lineman is hoping for a second chance to join former college teammates Isaac Alarcon and Alfredo Guiterrez in the NFL. Fortunately, Zepada should be better prepared this year after going through the process last spring.

Zepada played for one of from Mexico best college programs in powerhouse Monterrey Technology. In the boregos program, he showed great versatility from guard and tackle to what many have called “Alabama” from from Mexico college football system. At one point, Zepada played alongside the current dallas CowboyIsaac Alarcon at the start of his university career.

Many players have had success in their second round in the program like David Bada, Adedayo Odeleye, Ayo Oyelola were all able to enter the NFL after running through the program a second time.

Basil ‘CJ’ Chijioke Okoye (Nigeria) shows off his powerful punch Photo: NFL UK

Basil ‘CJ’ Okoye – OL – Nigeria
Nicknamed “CJ,” the 6’6″, 315-pound offensive lineman was one of this year’s most anticipated combine prospects. The 20-year-old was recognized as the best attacking player in Osi Umenyiora’s team NFL Africa Camp in Ghana earlier in March.

Another former basketball player, ‘CJ’ showed rare acceleration, quick feet and surprisingly good technique for a player with little football experience. Like many of his compatriots, he had never played an official football game before, however, his athletic ceiling was among the highest of any athlete on the combine.

Offensive lineman Leander Wiegand, of Germany, during the International Player Combine

Leander Weigand – OL – Germany:

The 6’5″, 300-pound tackle adapted last year for the Cologne Centurions of the ELF. The German the lineman has had his eyes on the NFL IPP program for some time indicating his intention to go to the prestigious NFL development program last spring.

Wiegand started playing football for the Aachen Vampires in Germany’s lower leagues, then signed an NCAA D1 scholarship for University of Central Florida (NCAA D1). After a season there, Weigand returned home and started at left tackle for the centurions. He trained intensely with former NFL Europe player Chris Mohr for this opportunity and seemed to make the most of it.

Expect the NFL choose 12 to 15 of these international prospects to train Arizona this spring at Lecharles Bentley training center. From there, four lucky athletes will be assigned to NFL teams while others can sign as a free agent. Fans can look for an announcement from the NFL in December as to the players who made the first cut.