4 International Pathway Program prospects that would best fit the Detroit Lions, including one that could be a lock to join

Yardbarker

OTAs are well under way for the Detroit Lions and the rest of the NFL. Minicamp and training camp will be here before you know it. While the draft is done and rookie minicamp is out of the way, teams are still bringing in prospects to join their team every week. International prospects that is. 

The NFL recently began the International Pathways Program to help be a bridge for international players to make their way to the NFL. The biggest perks of the program for teams is that they get an exemption for the player during training camp so it doesn’t count against their 90 man roster and then they get a 17th practice squad spot to use for that player.  

So far those perks have helped quite a bit. Teams are signing and drafting international players now more than ever. The Lions have been one of the teams that have been big on international players. Currently the team has two on their roster with Mathieu Betts and  Giovanni Manu. The Lions had Italian offensive lineman Max Pircher on their roster all year last year and had Australian tight end Patrick Murtaugh for a short period of time as well. 

There’s definitely interest in bringing in some of these players. So far a lot of them are gone already, but here’s four players that are still available that would fit the Lions. Including one that could be a lock to join the team.

Praise Olatoke

Lions GM Brad Holmes said the Lions may still bring in another receiver at some point this summer, how about one that’s 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and runs a 4.36 40-yard dash? That’s Olatoke. 

Olatoke was born in Nigeria, but he hails from Scotland. He ran track for Ohio State and joined the Buckeyes club football team in 2022 as a receiver. He’s still very new to football and is learning the game, but the physical traits are undeniable. He’s a project that’s well worth checking out. 

So far the Eagles have brought him in for a tryout at their rookie minicamp. They did not sign him, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t. They could look to bring him in during camp. The Lions could swoop in and steal him. 

George Smith

If we know one thing about Brad Holmes, its that he likes giant offensive linemen. George Smith from England is definitely that. he stands at 6-foot-9 and weighs 280 pounds. The former Rugby star has some good athleticism and strength, but doesn’t have a lot of football experience. 

He took part in a 10-week training academy this year and that’s it. Smith told the US Sun that he watched his first Super Bowl this year, so he’s really new to the game. 

But he also said his goal was to put the helmet on and then put that helmet through someone else’s helmet, so he has that violent edge that Dan Campbell loves so much. He’s a long term project though. 

Florian Bierbaumer

The Lions have been bringing in some tight ends lately with Parker Hesse and Sean McKeon joining up, how about one more? A 6-foot-6 and 250 pound one form Austria could be fun. 

Bierbaumer actually has football experience too. He’s been playing in the European league as a receiver and tight end and the game there is very similar to the American game. He’s got some speed and some contested catch ability too. 

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