Notable International Player Pathway Program Participants currently on NFL rosters
Jakob Johnson (Germany), New England Patriots
Johnson started his football career in Stuttgart, Germany as a youth. He played for the Stuttgart Scorpions, a German Football League team, before moving to Jacksonville, Florida. Johnson played high school football in the United States for one season before being recruited by the University of Tennessee. Johnson was then assigned to the Scorpions again in 2018. Johnson was assigned to the New England Patriots in 2019 through the International Player Pathway program. Johnson was then assigned to the Patriots through the International Player Pathway program in 2019. Johnson was signed to Patriots’ active roster by the team on September 21, 2019. Johnson played in four regular season games with three starts in 2019, and made his debut career reception of five yards in Week 5. Johnson remained with New England in 2020 and played in all 16 regular season games. He also made 11 fullback starts and scored his first ever touchdown in Week 2. The International Pathway program participant was the first to score a touchdown during a regular season. Johnson was signed by New England Patriots for the 2021 football season. He started six of the 17 games. Johnson is still a major part of New England’s run game, with over 1,000 career snaps.
Jordan Mailata, tackle (Australia), Philadelphia Eagles
Mailata was a 2017 participant in the International Player Pathway Program and was trained at IMG Academy. Mailata, a Samoan-born former rugby league player for South Sydney Rabbitohs, was then drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round. He was thus ineligible to participate in the International Player Pathway program. Mailata had spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons on the injured reserve and practice squad. He enjoyed a breakout 2020 season with starts at left and right tackle. Mailata helped create an offense that ranked third for rushing average (5.0 yards per run) and ninth for rushing yards per match (126.7). Mailata signed a four-year extension to his contract with the Eagles and was named as a starting left tackle after the 2020 season. Mailata played in all 14 of his games and he surpassed 1,000 career snaps.
Efe Obada is a defensive end (UK), Buffalo Bills
Obada arrived in London at the age of 10 from the Netherlands. He was raised there. After playing five games of amateur football for the London Warriors, Obada signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys. Obada had a practice squad and preseason stint with the Cowboys. Then, he joined the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad as part the 2017 International Player Pathway program. In 2018, Obada become the first player from the NFL International Pathway program to make a 53-man roster and also played in his first regular season game (Week 3, 2018), earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his one-sack, one-interception performance against the Cincinnati Bengals. Obada signed with the Bills in 2021 as a free agent after recording 50 tackles and eight tackles for losses, 7.5sacks. He also had three passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Obada was able to play in 10 games, with one start. He recorded 12 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
Sammis Reyes (Chile), Washington Football Team
Reyes was raised in Santiago de Chile, where he was an athlete in multiple sports. At the age of 13, he moved to America to attend highschool. Reyes spent one semester in Hawaii before moving to Palm Beach State Junior College. After those stints, Reyes enrolled in the Tulane men’s basketball team (2016-17) as well as playing for the Chilean national basketball squad (2017). Reyes was a basketball star who competed in the NFL’s International Player Pathway program for a spot on the 2020 NFL roster. Reyes was born in Chile and was the first Chilean-born NFL player to get a spot on Washington’s 2021 roster. He made his debut in Week 5 against New Orleans, and his first start in Week 11 against Carolina.