Making an NFL team is incredibly hard. Just a fraction of the best college players make an impact at NFL level and the average career is just over three years.
Despite that, and the added disadvantage of not having played football (at least the American kind) until much later in life, this year there are six incredibly gifted European athletes looking to make it onto the roster of NFL teams and appear in their first ever game.
Five of the six having never even played the game at college level, but they are all giving everything to achieve their dreams. With all of them standing over 6’3” they are an intimidating bunch. As with all expats trying to make it big in the US, we wish them well!
Moritz was born in Stuttgart and only started playing American Football when he was 17 after watching YouTube videos of Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson. A 6’4” physical phenom with blazing speed, Moritz played his way up the German leagues for sides like the Crailsheim Titans and the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns.
After turning out at a Florida college pro-day, Moritz caught the eye of the NFL media and was taken in the 6th round of the NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings, becoming the first player to ever be drafted from outside of the US college football system.
Born in South London, Lawrence won the UK national school rugby championship at 18 and went on to represent Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, finishing 12th in the discus competition. After the games he moved to the US to follow his football dreams and after an impressive showing at the regional combines, was signed by the San Francisco 49ers.
After two years with the Niners practice squad he spent time with the Arizona Cardinals before signing with the New York Jets where he’s switch to Tackle and is looking to make his first start this season.
Anthony learned about the NFL from playing Nintendo when he was 17 and went on to play for the Grenoble Centaurs in France for a few years before moving to the German leagues. At 6’5” and 215lbs, his physical attributes and potential were enough for the New York Giants to bring him into their 90 man roster this offseason.
At 27 he’s advanced in years for an NFL rookie, but has joined the right team. The Giants aren’t deep at wide receiver outside of superstar Odell Beckham and often injured Victor Cruz.
David was born in Stockholm and started playing football whilst at Community College in San Francisco. After two years turning heads he moved to Purdue, where he was suspended his first three games because he had played for a club side in Sweden.
He played 20 games for Purdue and had some hopes of being drafted but ended up signing with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent. He’s 6’4” and 300lbs and has a reputation for being an aggressive player.
Despite being 6’6” and over 250lbs, Efe wasn’t much of a sports fan growing up and only watched his first NFL game in 2013.
A friend in London suggested he take up the game and he tried out for his local team, the London Warriors. He played just five games before one of his coaches, who was interning at the Dallas Cowboys, got him a try out. He impressed and was put on the practice squad for the year before joining the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016.
TK is perhaps the longest shot to make a roster this year. Not only has he never played a game of American Football, he’d never seen one until 2014. He grew up in Lithuania and moved to the US to further his discus ambitions. After two years at college in New York, where he set national records, he moved to Mississippi State.
He took up football just a few months before the 2016 NFL draft and displayed such incredible physical gifts at his University pro-day that the Kansas City Chiefs decided to roll the dice and sign him to their 90 man roster.