FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 2012 – NEW YORK, NY – An unprecedented five international American football players were selected to join NFL teams during the course of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Three Canadians, a German and an Englishman went of the boards between the start of the NFL Draft on Thursday evening and its Saturday conclusion.
International players selected in the 2012 NFL Draft:
||R3 / 81st
||Catholic Central HS, Windsor, ON
||R4 / 108th
||Fr. Henry Carr Catholic HS, ON
||R5 / 158th
||Did not play in England
||R6 / 189th
||St Patrick’s HS, Ottawa, ON
||R7 / 239th
German defensive end MARKUS KUHN became the third European-trained player to be drafted by a NFL team when he was selected by the New York Giants in the seventh round (239th overall).
Kuhn first played American football with the Weinheim Longhorns club team in his native Germany and follows in the footsteps of fellow German offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer (New England, 2009, R2 / 58th) and defensive tackle Romeo Bandison (Cleveland, 1994, R3 / 75th) from the Netherlands.
In New York, Kuhn joins former Team USA star David Wilson, who was the Most Valuable Player of the 2009 IFAF Under-19 World Championship, and was selected in the first round by the reigning Super Bowl champions with the 32nd overall pick.
TYRONE CRAWFORD was the first of the three Canadians selected when the Dallas Cowboys called his name in the third round (81st overall). The Boise State defensive end starred at Catholic Central Hugh School in Windsor, Ontario.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said Crawford is: “A guy that we really feel like has some upside and can do a few different things for us. The thing we probably like about him most is his potential, maybe more than that his motor, the way he plays. He is a high-energy guy, very active. We just love the demeanor that he plays with.”
Canadian center PHILIP BLAKE could go from snapping the ball to Heisman Trophy winner and second overall selection Robert Griffin III to Peyton Manning after he was taken by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round with the 108th overall pick.
Blake, who was raised in Toronto, did not play the sport until his senior year at Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School. He then played at Champlain Regional College and Tyler Junior College and for the Bears became a three-year starter.
Broncos head coach John Fox said of the versatile Blake, who can also line up at guard: “He’s very strong. He’s experienced. He has played multiple positions so he understands offensive line play. I thought he was an excellent pass protector, as far as once he got his hands on you, you weren’t going very far. Where he ends up fitting will be up to him.”
English defensive end JACK CRAWFORD was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth round (158th overall), though the London-born Penn State product did not play football until his junior year at St Augustine Prep in New Jersey.
“I haven’t spent that much time in California,” said Crawford. “I’m excited to get out there. “I’m excited to start the football process and getting to experience Oakland and the California lifestyle. It will be like making the switch from London to New Jersey.”
Defensive tackle CHRISTO BILUKIDI took an unusual route to the NFL, before the Oakland Raiders came calling in the sixth round (189th overall). Born in Angola, he lived in Brazil and France before playing football at St Patrick’s High School in Ottawa and at Eastern Arizona Junior College. He transferred to Georgia State and became their first ever player to be drafted by a NFL team.
Continuing the international theme, the New Orleans Saints selected AKIEM HICKS, an American-born defensive tackle who played two season at the University of Regina in Canada, in the third round with the 89th overall pick. Hicks became the first Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) player drafted into the NFL since the San Diego Chargers selected Vaughn Martin of Western in 2009 and the ninth in history.