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Johnathan Joseph expects more U.K. talent to make way to NFL

Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph believes the NFL will begin seeing an increased pipeline of talent coming from the United Kingdom in the near future.

According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Joseph, who has spent the week in the U.K. to promote the NFL’s games there this season, believes that there is plenty of talent to be developed and kids that will want to give a run at making the NFL a shot.

Absolutely,” Joseph said. “It’s only a matter of time before we have a (British) player on a roster.

“The NFL’s doing so much to promote our football over here. You find a talent pool like they have here, and they start to work at getting better, and, in time, I think you’ll see several players in the NFL coming from here.”

British rugby player Christian Wade is trying to make the conversion to football with the Buffalo Bills this offseason. However, he’s not the only player from the U.K. currently on an NFL roster. Baltimore Ravens guard Jermaine Eluemunor, New England Patriots safety Obi Melifonwu and Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi were all born in London before moving to the U.S. as children. Meanwhile, Carolina Panthers defensive end Efe Obada grew up in London after his family immigrated from Nigeria before starting football in London and getting interest from NFL teams.

Osi Umenyiora, Menelik Watson, Dominique Foxworth, Lawrence Okoye, Visanthe Shiancoe, Lawrence Tynes and Graham Gano all have U.K. roots as well before picking up football and making the NFL.

Joseph has been involved in coaching clinics during his time in the U.K. as well and was excited by the eagerness to learn of the groups he worked with.

“This has been a great experience for me,” Joseph said. “I’ve been so impressed with the kids. They’re eager to learn, and there’s definitely talent here. They want to be coached up.

“I’ve seen some great plays made by guys and girls. There are no egos here. The kids have opened their eyes and ears, and when you have that, the future’s bright for them.”

Many of the players to eventually make the NFL from the U.K. relocated to the United States and played football in college before going pro. Okoye, Obada and Wade would be among the exceptions. It may still be the most reasonable avenue for players across the pond interested in football to forge a path to the NFL for now. But with the league playing more and more games in London as they look to expand their footprint, there may be more players willing to give the game a go in the future.