NEW YORK NY Nov. 29, 2022 – The National Football League (NFL) has today announced the names of the 11 athletes, from five countries, selected for the ‘International Player Pathway’ (IPP) program for 2023.
Established in 2017, the IPP program aims to provide elite international athletes with the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately work to earn a spot on an NFL roster.
Since its inception 26 international players have been allocated to NFL rosters. There are currently 16 IPP athletes on NFL rosters, with three of these on their team’s active roster – Jordan Mailata (Australia) – Philadelphia Eagles, Efe Obada (UK) – Washington Commanders and Jakob Johnson (Germany) – Las Vegas Raiders.
This year saw the NFL host an International Combine in England on October 4 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with 38 players from 13 countries participating.
Players will begin training in the United States in January for 10 weeks and will have the opportunity to showcase their talents to NFL club scouts throughout March. The goal is for athletes to be selected for allocation to an NFL practice squad or sign as a free agent for next season through the IPP program following the 2023 NFL Draft.
Chosen at random, a minimum of one of the NFL’s eight divisions will receive the international players selected for the 2023 program should they not be signed to free agent contracts. At the conclusion of training camp, each player will be eligible for an international player practice squad exemption with his assigned team. This grants the assigned team an extra practice squad member. Under certain parameters, players can also be elevated to the active roster during the regular season.
«The International Player Pathway program is an important part of our continued focus on growing the game globally and creating a pathway for international athletes to play in the NFL,» said Peter O’Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President, Club Business, Major Events & International, NFL. «We are delighted to see the impact this program is having on football development outside of the USA and are excited to see these talented athletes from across the world competing for a future spot on an NFL roster.»
This news comes on the heels of German International Player Pathway Alumni, David Bada, having his International designation removed by the Washington Commanders and being elevated to the club’s official Practice Squad.
List of selected 2023 IPP players:
|Talitiga Lachlan Amosa||Australia||DL|
|Etuale Junior Vinny Lui||New Zealand||DL|
|Basil Chijioke Okoye||Nigeria||DL/OL|
|Chukwuebuka Jason Godrick||Nigeria||OL|
|David Ebuka Agoha||Nigeria||DL|
|Kehinde Hassan Oginni||Nigeria||DL|
|Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi||Nigeria||OL/DL|
Notable International Player Pathway program participants currently on NFL rosters:
Jakob Johnson, Fullback (Germany), Las Vegas Raiders
Johnson was signed to the Patriots’ active roster on September 21, 2019. Johnson appeared in four regular season games in 2019 with three starts and made his first career reception for five yards in Week 5. He remained with the Patriots for the 2020 season and played all 16 games with 11 starts at fullback and scored his first career touchdown in Week 2. The touchdown catch was the first regular-season touchdown scored by an International Pathway program participant. Johnson was re-signed by the Patriots for the 2021 season and played in all 17 games with six starts. He signed with the Las Vegas Raiders prior to the 2022 season and has been a key contributor to their running game through his first season with the team.
Jordan Mailata, Tackle (Australia), Philadelphia Eagles
The Samoan-born Australian former professional rugby league player for the South Sydney Rabbitohs was drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, becoming the youngest player on the Eagles’ roster. After spending the 2018 and 2019 seasons on injured reserve and practice squad, Mailata had a breakout 2020 campaign with starts at both left and right tackle. Following the 2020 season, Mailata was named a starting left tackle and signed a four-year contract extension to remain with the Eagles. In 2021, Mailata started all 14 games he played in and eclipsed 1,000 career snaps. Mailata was the recipient of the NFL’s Way to Play Award in Week 1.
Efe Obada, Defensive End (UK), Washington Commanders
In 2018, Obada become the first player from the NFL International Pathway program to make a 53-man roster and play in his first regular-season game, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his one-sack, one-interception performance against the Cincinnati Bengals. Obada joined the Bills as a free agent for the 2021 season. In 2021, Obada played in 10 games with one start, recording 12 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three tackles for loss and one pass defensed. Obada signed with the Washington Commanders prior to the 2022 season and has recorded three sacks on the season to date.