It's rare for an overseas player to reach the NFL. That will change after this draft when three players from overseas could be chosen in the top 15 picks of the April draft.
"They're all good prospects," said former Indianapolis general manager Bill Polian on a conference call Tuesday. He now serves as an NFL analyst for ESPN.
There's a good chance Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner (Germany) will be chosen in the top five. BYU defensive end Ziggy Ansah (Ghana) continues to be a hot name after running the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds at the combine. He didn't start playing football until 2010. And SMU's Margus Hunt (Estonia), like the other two, will go in the first round. Hunt ran the 40 in 4.6 seconds at the combine.
All three are pass-rushers, elevating their stock.
"They all, to some degree or another, have some instinctual problems because the game to them is not as natural as it is to some others," Polian said. "But they all have exceptional athletic ability and exceptional ability to turn speed into power. That's a rare commodity and it's what you have to have to be an outstanding pass rusher."
Hunt arrived at SMU as a track athlete; Ansah went out for track and then basketball before trying out for the football team in 2010.
"It certainly is a good sign for the growth of the game," Polian said. "More importantly, it's about their athletic ability and their ability to have both power and speed at the same time. That's what it takes to play and all three have it.
- John Keim