Not too long ago, some YouWager bettors noticed than many of the players selected in the first round of the NBA Draft were not American-born players. However, this year, only 5 players from other countries are expected to be drafted in the 1st round. Now, the same number of foreign–born athletes are projected to go in the first round of the NFL Draft.
A senior NFL analyst expects to see players like Ziggy Ansah, a defensive end originally from Ghana, and Bjoern Werner, from Germany, to be in the top 10. YouWager’s expert could also see offensive tackle Menelik Watson from the UK, defensive end Margus Hunt from Estonia, and the Australian defensive tackle Jess Williams going fairly quickly.
Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout, told a YouWager news source that more international players are coming. “I think we will see more of this in the future. Most of these guys were playing other sports in their country: Hunt came from track, Watson from hoops, Williams from rugby and Ansah from hoops. College coaches are looking for athletes and some of these other sports are filled with exceptional (raw) athletes,” Jeremiah said.
A college coach, who did not wish to release his name, told YouWager’s source, “For us, the biggest issue is how do you find these guys, or do they really find you?”
Margus Hunt was a gold medalist. His events were the shot put and the discus throw at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing. After moving to Texas and training with SMU’s track coach, Dave Wollman, Hunt was recruited by the football team. Hunt was not only fast, he was also 6-foot-8.
Lawrence Okoye was a star rugby player. After putting on a display that wowed scouts at the NFL’s Super Regional Combines, Okoye told YouWager’s source that he saw similarities with football and discuss-throwing. “One of the biggest crossovers is producing power from the ground up, getting that power from your ankles, knees and hips,” Okoye said.
Okoye said he had always wanted to try American football because it’s such a physical contest. He also admitted that he likes to hit people. “It’s fun. Playing rugby I had that in me. The discus is great but there’s nothing like a team sport, and football is the ultimate team sport.”
Still, one coach said betting on these foreign–born players could be a big gamble for a team, as an investment in unknown talent. He told YouWager’s source, “You do wonder how instinctive these guys are and how quickly they can pick up a sport most of them didn’t grow up watching. The other thing is a guy can test out great and be really explosive and look great, but that doesn’t mean when you get him out on the field he won’t be really stiff or that he can play. And without much film, you gotta be careful you don’t get caught reaching.”