There have been several strong NFL players coming from the Caribbean in the last two decades. The Jamaican-born, Patrick Chung, might be one of the most successful athletes from this part of the world as the solid safety won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots throughout his career. Moreover, Victor Cruz and Pierre Garcon who hail from Puerto Rico and Haiti respectively have also written down their names in the NFL history books.
Here are some players to keep an eye on this season:
Rakeem Nathan Nunez-Roches is a Belizean nose tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After going on a fantastic swing during his college career, Nunez-Roches was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015. However, he struggled in his first year in the NFL, and even though he got plenty of playing time in 2016 and 2017, he was eventually traded to the Indianapolis Colts.
In October 2018, the talented Belizean was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It wasn’t until the 2020 NFL season before he got the head coach’s attention. He was selected as a starter in 11 games and recorded 20 tackles along the process, thus making his contribution to their second Super Bowl.
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) was born in Jamaica.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Daniele Hunter – born in Jamaica – is surely another example of an experienced NFL player from the Caribbean. His career stretches back to 2015 when he was drafted by his current team, the Minnesota Vikings. Hunter shoned bright from his very first appearances in the NFL.
The 27-year-old has been an irreplaceable part of the Vikings between 2017 and 2019, starting in all 48 games for his team. He recorded his best numbers in 2018 when he finished off the season with 72 tackles, 14.5 sacks, and one fumble recovery for a touchdown. Hunter might have missed out on winning a Super Bowl, but he was nominated to the Pro Bowl and was also named Second Team All-Pro in 2018.
Javon Kinlaw – born in Trinidad – was one of the most renowned players in college football as he was named First-Team All-SEC in 2019 following his strong senior season in South Carolina. In the following year, the Trinidadian made another huge statement in his maiden NFL season for the San Francisco 49ers. He ended up with 33 tackles and 1.5 sacks across 12 starts.
In Week 12, following an incredible interception and a 27-yard touchdown in a 23-20 win over the Los Angeles Rams, Kinlaw was named Pepsi Rookie of the Week. Unfortunately, he was placed on injured reserve last year which put an end to his momentum.
N’Keal Harry – St. Vincent – was among the most improved players from the Caribbean throughout the past NFL campaigns. Raised in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Harry moved to the United States at a young age. In 2016, he enrolled at the Arizona State University where he helped his team flourish across three seasons.
Harry was later on selected by the New England Patriots in the 2019 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, the team was unable to live up to the high expectations set during the previous years. However, he made the playoffs twice in his career which certainly helped him gain much-needed experienced for his eventual growth.