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What is the International Player Pathway? England’s Travis Clayton becomes second NFL Draft pick ever from overseas program | Sporting News



The vast majority of players included in each year’s NFL Draft come directly from college — most in the United States.

An occasional Canadian college player gets drafted, but very rarely does an athlete from overseas reach the NFL via the draft. It’s only happened once before the 2024 NFL Draft.

The second player came through the first pick of the seventh round — 233rd overall — out of England. Tyler Clayton, an offensive guard, will join the Buffalo Bills for the 2024 season.

It’s made possible through the International Player Pathway program. The Sporting News breaks down what this is and how it works.

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What is the International Player Pathway program?

The NFL established the International Player Pathway program in 2017 as a way to provide athletes from outside of the United States a clear road to the NFL.

The program allows athletes to “develop and begin their journey in American football” through international camps. Scouts and coaches are present.

This allows the league to expand beyond its United States borders and venture into global markets. It also gives opportunities to athletes who otherwise could not have been drafted into the NFL.

American football isn’t commonly played around the world, so kids overseas may not be exposed to the sport aside from TV or social media. The NFL has scheduled games in Germany and England to help expand the sport.

In order to qualify for the IPP, an athlete must have citizenship outside of the U.S. and Canada with a maximum of two years in U.S. high school.

The International Player Pathway will welcome special teams players for the first time in 2024.


Travis Clayton stats

Clayton became the second player from the International Player Pathway to be selected in the NFL Draft.

The offensive lineman stands at 6-7 and 301 pounds, ran a 4.79 40-yard dash and has a seven-foot wingspan.

Clayton, who hails from Basingstoke, England, has never played football. He’s a rugby player, who participated in the International Player Pathway program. He also has experience boxing and playing soccer.

Clayton will now battle for a roster spot with the Bills after being selected by them in the seventh round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

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