NFL

2016 NFL draft- Jacksonville Jaguars strong draft display bodes well for NFL in London

Wembley: Dallas Cowboys vs Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL International Series:  Image: Silly git2000 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold a two-game-a-season residency here at London’s Wembley Stadium, had a particularly strong NFL draft last Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

They signed Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey in the first two rounds, both of whom were expected to be in the top ten.

Picking up two elite defensive players to compliment their already strong offence means that Jacksonville could be a real force when the new season kicks off in September.

This will come as welcome news to the many thousands of passionate ‘grid-iron’ fans who descend on the UK capital city in October and November, to watch the games; especially as in previous years, The Jags have been one of the league’s weaker sides.

One of the biggest stories of draft night was that of defensive tackle, Laremy Tunsil.

Laremy Tunsil: Image: NFL.com

Laremy Tunsil: Image: NFL.com

He was possibly the best overall player in the draft; but, ten minutes before it was due to start, his Twitter account was hacked and a video appeared of him smoking marijuana.

Teams were immediately put off selecting him but eventually Miami Dolphins picked him at No. 13, ten places later than expected.

 

This social media mishap cost him both professional credibility and a sizeable amount of money; post-draft, he apologised for his mistake.

American Football is by no means a new craze in Britain, but its popularity has certainly grown in recent years, with teams such as the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars playing at Wembley.

In fact the Jaguars are rumoured to be moving their side to London, specifically to Tottenham Hotspur’s new ground, in a couple of years’ time.

UK NFL pundit, Jim Dale explains how the draft might affect NFL prospects in the UK

He also believes American Football has mass-appeal in this country, and has done for a while.

All in all, over 40million people world-wide tuned in to watch the 2016 NFL draft, highlighting the mass global appeal of ‘America’s game’.

With increased interest and the infrastructure in place, it might not be too long before we see our very own NFL team here in London.

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