Diversity has always been an issue in sports. The NFL is no exception. Yet, to its credit the National Football League has seen its ranks diversify over the years. Latino’s in particular, have become more interested in American football over the years and the influx of Hispanic players in the NFL demonstrates this. Latino’s in today’s modern NFL started with Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz who then paved the way for the likes of Tony Gonzalez. From there players such as Moses Moreno, the Gramatica brothers (Bill and Martin), and Joaquin Gonzalez, among others led in a new wave of Hispanic players to the gridiron such as Roberto Garza, Knowshon Moreno, Juaquin Iglesias, the recently retired Manny Ramirez and Anthony Gonzalez just to name a few.
Heading into this 2016 NFL season, Latino’s will once again make their presence know, however, what impact will they have on the field? Here’s a list of five players in particular that could turn heads in 2016…
5. Kiko Alonso, Linebacker for Miami Dolphins
As a rookie with the Buffalo Bills in 2013, Alonso made an impact on the linebacker position for Buffalo. Alonso totaled 159 tackles, four pass deflections, and four interceptions, resulting in a Defensive Rookie of the Year award, along with being named to the NFL’s All-Under 25 team. But after back-to-back ACL tears in 2014 and 2015 (with the Philadelphia Eagles), Alonso was traded to the Miami Dolphins this past offseason. Now healthy, Alonso has a new lease on life in South Florida.
With Pro Bowl defensive linemen Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh lining up in front of him, expect Alonso to have a resurgence in 2016.