Héctor Zepeda will be part of the NFL’s International Player’s Path

  • The NFL International Combine is the first phase of the process towards IPP integration, in which Mexican players Isaac Alarcón (Dallas Cowboys) and Alfredo Gutiérrez (San Francisco 49ers) have participated, as well as Chilean Sammis Reyes (Washington Football Team). ).

Mexican offensive midfielder Héctor Zepeda, a player for Tec de Monterrey Borregos, is one of 13 athletes selected from nine countries to compete for a place in the 2022 International Player’s Path program, the NFL announced.

Héctor Zepeda (OL, ITESM-Monterrey, 1.83 m, 124 Kgs) said, while participating in the NFL Combine Mexico that took place last October in the city of Monterrey, Nuevo León, that he was trying to follow in the footsteps of former teammate Isaac Alarcón, who is currently it became part of the Dallas Cowboys, only through the IPP program.

Institutionalized in 2017, the IPP aims to give elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot in multiple NFL lineups. This season, two players entering the NFL through the IPP program, Jakob Johnson of the New England Patriots and Jordan Mailata of the Philadelphia Eagles, made their 1,000th career game. They join Efe Obada of the Buffalo Bills in the IPP cast to achieve this feat in their NFL career.

In light of the program’s success to date, the NFL is expanding its international talent search, hosting the Combines in England and Mexico last October, with 56 players from 16 countries participating. The league has identified the best athletes from nine countries who will compete for a place in the programme.

Players will begin training in the United States next month and will have the opportunity to showcase their skills to NFL club scouts in March in the hope of either being signed as free agents or selected to be assigned to a training team for next season via IPP.

One of the eight NFL divisions, which will be chosen at random, will host international players selected for the 2022 program if they do not sign free agency contracts. Upon completion of training camp, each player will be eligible for the international player training team exemption with assigned franchises. This gives the assigned club additional members of the practice team. Under certain parameters, players can also be part of the starting lineup during the regular season.

“The International Player’s Path Program is an important part of our ongoing efforts to help ensure that the world’s best athletes play in the NFL, regardless of their country of origin.” said Damani Leech, Director of Operations for NFL International. “We are thrilled to have players from all over the world vying for a place in the 2022 programme.”

Players participating in the program:

Player Position Tall Heavy Country real team
Leonel Misangumukini DL 6’3 258 Austria Vikings of Vienna
Leandro Santos da Fonseca OL 6’5 270 Brazil Remo lion
Souleymane Karamoko DB 6’1 195 France Laval University
Marcel Dabo DB 6’0 208 German Stuttgart Surge
Ralph Rusins DL 6’6 325 Latvia Liberty University
Hector Zepeda Hernandez OL 6’4 285 Mexico Tecnologico de Monterrey
Kehinde Hassan Oginni ON 6’5 215 Nigeria Resurrection
Chigbo Roy Mbaeteka OL 6’7 309 Nigeria Resurrection
Hagai Chisom Ndubuisi OL 6’6 298 Nigeria Resurrection
Thomas Odukoya ON 6’6 260 Dutch Eastern Michigan University
Adedayo Odeleye DL 6’5 272 great Britain Berlin Thunder
Come on Oyelola LB 5’11 217 great Britain Winnipeg Blue Bomber
Bamidele Olaseni OL 6’7 330 great Britain University of Utah

Current Leading International Players Program Participants in the NFL ranks:

Jakob Johnson, Fullback (Alemania), New England Patriots.

Johnson began his career as a youth in his hometown of Stuttgart, Germany, playing for the Stuttgart Scorpions of the German League before moving to Jacksonville, Florida. He played a season of college football in the United States and was recruited to continue his career at the University of Tennessee. Johnson returned to the Scorpions in 2018. He was then assigned to the New England Patriots through the International Player Track Program in 2019. In Johnson’s case, the Patriots chose to ignore the waiver of the international player training team and signed him as a permanent member of his training team, which gave them a choice. to promote it. He was signed to the Patriots as an active player on September 21, 2019. Johnson featured in four regular season games in 2019 starting three times and making his first career catch of five yards in Week 5. He remained with New England throughout the 2020 season and played all 16 games with 11 players at full-back and scored the first touchdown of his career on Week 2. The touchdown was the first touchdown in the regular season scored by an International Pathway program participant. Johnson re-signed with the Patriots for the 2021 season and played in all 17 games with six starts. He remains an important part of the New England running game, recording more than 1,000 career games.

Jordan Mailata, Tackle (Australia), Philadelphia Eagles.

In 2017, Mailata participated in the International Player Track Program and trained at the IMG Academy. The former professional Rugby League player, born in Samoa, Australia, was selected in the seventh round of the 2018 Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles (making him ineligible for the International Player’s Path Program), becoming the youngest player in the Eagles squad. After spending the 2018 and 2019 seasons on the handicapped roster and on the training team, Mailata enjoyed a great 2020 campaign starting from tackles left and right. This paved the way for a foul that ranks third in speed average (5.0 yards per attack) and ninth in running speed per game (126.7). After the 2020 season, Mailata was appointed as an early left and signed a four-year contract extension to remain with the Eagles. In 2021, Mailata started all 14 games he played and dwarfed the 1,000 games of his career.

Efe Obada, Defensive End (United Kingdom), Buffalo Money.

Obada grew up in London, where he arrived at the age of 10. He signed as a free agent for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, having played just five games in amateur football with the London Warriors. He played pre-season with the Cowboys and spent part of the 2015 season on the franchise’s training team. He has since attracted the attention of the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons, before joining the Carolina Panthers training team, as part of the 2017 International Player of the Path Program. In 2018, Obada became the first player from the program to select 53 players. talent and also played his first regular season game (Sunday 3, in 2018), earning the NFC Defender of the Week recognition, thanks to his performance after an excellent catch and interception against the Cincinnati Bengals. After racking up 50 tackles, 7.5 sacks, three passes held, two errors recovered and one foul in 42 games (2017-2020) with the Panthers, Obada joins the Bills as a free agent for the 2021 season. In 2021 Obada played 10 games starting, registering 12 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three tackles per loss and one pass defended.

Sammis Reyes, Tight End (Chile), Washington Football Team.

Reyes grew up in Santiago, Chile, where he was a multi-sport athlete. He moved to the United States at the age of 13 to attend high school. He attended Hawaii for a semester before transferring to Palm Beach State Junior College to play basketball. After the assignment, Reyes joined the men’s basketball program in Tulane (2016-17) and played for the Chile national basketball team (2017). After a successful basketball career, Reyes is competing for a position on the NFL roster in 2020 through the NFL’s International Player’s Path program. Although he had never played football, Reyes secured a place on Washington’s 2021 roster, becoming the first Chilean-born player in the NFL. He appeared in his first regular season game on Week 5 against New Orleans and got his first start on Week 11 against Carolina.

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