The AFC East has been selected at random to receive an international player next season as part of the NFL's International Player Pathway initiative, according to an NFL press release earlier today.
Seven overseas players have been selected for this year's program and will be attending their pro day today. At the conclusion of training camp, each team in the AFC East will be allocated one of these players, provided they don't get signed to a free agent contract in the meantime.
That player will then be carried as an exempted 11th member of the practice squad but will be ineligible to be activated to the main roster until the following year.
Since the program began in 2017, there have been some minor success stories with three graduates of the program currently on NFL rosters. Eagles tackle Jordan Mailata was carried on the active roster all last season, although he didn't play. Bengals tight end Mortiz Böhringer, a former sixth round pick, spent last year on the Bengals practice squad before signing a futures deal at the end of the year. The biggest success has been Efe Obada, who became the first player from this program to make a 53-man roster last season with the Panthers. He ended up with eight tackles, two sacks and an NFL defensive player of the week award.
The most famous name from this year's group is a former international rugby star. 27-year old speedy former England and British and Irish Lions winger Christian Wade has been working out as a running back and kick returner.
Wade (#14 in black) shows his elusiveness here:
Australia's Valentine Holmes is younger at 23 and he's also a former rugby international - this time in rugby league rather than rugby union, which is a lower profile game but closer to NFL rules than union is.
Holmes is listed as a running back/receiver/returner but can also play some defense:
The other five players in this year's program are:
DAVID BADA, Defensive End, (Germany), Age: 23
MOUBARAK DJERI, Defensive Tackle, (Germany), Age: 22
JAKOB JOHNSON, Fullback, (Germany), Age: 24
DURVAL NETO, Defensive Tackle, (Brazil), Age: 25
MAXIMO SANCHEZ, Linebacker, (Mexico), Age: 25
It will be interesting to see who the Jets end up with and whether any of this group can emulate the success and ongoing potential of the three players named earlier.