Five Rising African Players in NFL

Africa is well accounted for in the NFL, with many players from different countries representing. Many African athletes put up tremendous stats during the 2021-22 season, defying NFL odds all season. 

Although the sport doesn’t have a huge fan base in the continent, producing this kind of talent is a significant milestone.

The standards have been set high and history well documented for the upcoming generation of African origin players in American Football. In 1998, the first African player, Doug Williams, won the Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins in San Diego, California. He shined in the 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.

The 2021 season has had various outstanding players. Here are some of the five rising African Players in the NFL.

Derrick Nandi

Player profile

  • Team: Kansas City Chiefs
  • Position: Defensive tackle
  • Nationality: American of Nigerian descent
  • Age: 25 years
  • Date of birth: May 9, 1996 
  • Place of Birth: Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • College football: Florida State
  • Education: Ocean Lakes High School


Derrick Nandi’s 2021 season has been outstanding for the Kansas City Chiefs. He is one of the best defenders in the NFL.

He is also a passionate animal lover. He donated some of his winnings from the 2019 Super Bowl to the Kansas City dog shelter. He is currently signed to a four-year contract with the Chiefs worth $3.74 million with bonuses worth $959,400.

Ndamukong Suh 

Player profile

  • Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Position: Defensive end
  • Nationality: American of Cameroonian descent
  • Age: 35 years
  • Date of birth: January 6, 1987  
  • Place of Birth: Portland, Oregon
  • College football: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Education: Grant High School 

Ndamukong Suh is one of the best defensive players in the NFL. He has developed into one of the most important players on his side. His experience and skill have proven his worth for his team, and he is a crucial part of the Bucs’ defense.

Suh became the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history in 2015. He signed a six-year contract worth $114 million with the Miami Dolphins. He finished last year on a high, helping his Buccaneers win the Super Bowl LV over Kansas City Chiefs. 

He was a decorated player in college for Nebraska. He won numerous awards, including the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award, and Outland Trophy. 

Alex Okafor

Player profile

  • Team: Kansas City Chiefs
  • Position: Defensive end
  • Nationality: American of Nigerian descent
  • Age: 30 years
  • Date of birth: February 8, 1991
  • Place of Birth: Dallas, Texas
  • College football: The University of Texas at Austin

In 2019, Alex Okafor signed a three-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. His contract is valued at $18 million. His playing style of putting himself over the line for the team has proved very impressive. 

In 2018 he missed out on the Super Bowl Final, where his team beat San Francisco. In 2021 he lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Greg Joseph 

Player profile

  • Team: Minnesota Vikings
  • Position: Placekicker
  • Nationality: American with South African birth
  • Age: 27 years
  • Date of birth: August 4, 1994
  • Place of Birth: Johannesburg, South Africa
  • College football: The University of Texas at Austin

Greg Joseph’s football career started when he was seven. This was after his parents moved to the US from South Africa. He played both football and soccer. In high school, he focused on playing football. His first professional contract was in 2018. 

His stay was for about seven months. He moved on to the Cleveland Browns, where he trained and played. He has played for the Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Minnesota Vikings, who he currently plays for.

Tanoh Kpassagnon

Player profile

  • Team: New Orleans Saints
  • Position: Defensive end
  • Nationality: American with Ivorian and Ugandan descent
  • Age: 27 years
  • Date of birth: June 14, 1994
  • Place of Birth: Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • College football: Villanova University

Tanoh Kpassagnon is a Super Bowl winner with the Kansas City Chiefs. His talent and hard work have made him make a name for his short career. He lost in the 2021 Super Bowl to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

After the season, he joined the New Orleans Saints, looking to make more achievements.

Africa is well represented in the NFL with incredibly talented players. The sport’s popularity is rising in the continent, and soon there will be more African players in the NFL. 


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