The NFL announced on Tuesday that the European League of Football’s Marcel Dabo of Stuttgart, Germany, a defensive back, has been allocated to the Indianapolis Colts as part of the league’s International Player Pathway Program (with the AFC South as this year’s randomly chosen division):
“Instituted in 2017, the program aims to provide elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.”
At a listed 6’0”, 210 pounds (with 30.875” arms), Dabo recorded a 4.52 forty time, 39 inch vertical, 11-foot broad jump, and 19 reps on the 225 pound bench press during the NFL London International Combine this past fall. He has a RAS of 9.54 out of 10.0—indicating his elite athleticism.
The athletic defensive back had 28 total tackles and an interception for the Stuttgart Surge this past season—as he was named to the 2021 ELF All-Star Team and was the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The Colts had hosted the intriguing European defensive back ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft and maintained their steady interest throughout the program’s evaluation process:
Marcel Dabo an enticing CB prospect who the #Colts are excited to have. He dominated the EFL and now gets a chance to continue developing. Dabo, who hit 21 bench reps at 225, has only been playing football for five years.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) May 3, 2022
Dabo does not count against the Colts’ current 90 man roster.
Assuming the program’s protocol remains the same: If Dabo remains on the Colts’ roster at the end of training camp, Indianapolis will now have the opportunity to keep him on their practice squad using an exempt taxi-man squad spot, which will not count against their current 14 player total allotment, but he cannot be activated or released during the 2022 season.
Dabo could also potentially be eligible to be elevated to the 53-man active roster at some point in the 2022 campaign—“if certain parameters are met” (which is admittedly vague).
Dabo makes for an intriguing, athletic developmental defensive back for the Colts—and if nothing else, it seems like a low risk, high reward opportunity for potentially uncovering a diamond in the rough for their secondary.
Update (2:55 PM EST): Marcel Dabo and Colts general manager Chris Ballard connect virtually after he was recently allocated to the Indianapolis Colts via the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program: