The term "international prospect" didn't exactly apply to the NFL before the 2016 Draft, because no one had ever been drafted out of a foreign football league. The Minnesota Vikings became trail blazers when they used their sixth round pick on Moritz Böhringer, a wide receiver playing professionally in the German Football League.
Bohringer is arguably the most intriguing prospect in the entire class. His physical attributes alone grabbed the media's attention when he weighed in at 227 and measured at 6-foot-4 at Florida Atlantic's pro day, which were both combine highs for drafted receivers.
And for all that size, he's fast, too.
The dilemma is that, at the end of the day, Bohringer's playing experience comes from the German Football League. Football might be a growing sport worldwide, but the average kid in Europe most likely isn't picking up a football when he wants to learn a sport.
Prior to the Draft, one NFL area scout went as far to say that the guys Bohringer played against "weren't even at a D-III level."
Bohringer takes "raw" talent to a whole new level.
Fortunately, other foreign-born players have found success.
The sample size is small, but being born outside the United States doesn't necessarily put Bohringer at a disadvantage.
If he makes the Vikings' final 53-man roster, he wouldn't even be the first German-born player. Offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer is one of the most important veteran linemen for the New England Patriots and didn't start playing football until he was 14. Fullback Jerome Felton, a native of Duren, Germany, played some of his best years with the Vikings and earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2012.
The difference between these players and Bohringer is that they all moved to the United States at early ages, and developed alongside American talent.
How do German touchdowns translate to SEC touchdowns?
This is where gauging Bohringer becomes tricky. Since he's the first player ever drafted directly from a foreign football league, there is no true way to predict how he'll play against NFL competition. With the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns, Bohringer hauled in 59 receptions for 1,232 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Those are outstanding numbers on paper, but would they hold if he were playing against elite college defenses?
Again, nobody really knows. He's truly a one-of-a-kind prospect, so there isn't a metric to compare the level of talent he was playing against in Germany to the talent he could have been playing against in Division I.
Who remembers Jarryd Hayne?
Jarryd Hayne, a former Australian rugby star turned NFL hopeful, is the most similar player the NFL has seen closest to Bohringer's situation. Hayne possessed all the tools to succeed in football because rugby requires a similar basic skill-set; being able to run through contact, cut through gaps in the defense while having enough physical endurance to do so repetitively.
He retired from professional football almost as quickly as he arrived. In Hayne's first look at NFL action, he fumbled a preseason punt return in 2015 and never quite established himself on the field.
What Hayne's experience showed is that even with all the similarities between rugby and football, there isn't an equivalent to playing professional, American football.
Granted that unlike Hayne, Bohringer has prior experience playing some level of football. But evaluating his true abilities won't be easy until he's lined up against real competition.
The 2016 NFL Draft saw a record 12 foreign-born players drafted, showing the sport is growing and that many like Bohringer might someday follow suit.
At the moment, Bohringer is breaking new ground by himself, and faces a daunting uphill climb into the NFL.null