One Nacion: Hispanic heritage and the NFL draft

Cornerback Zack Sanchez, from Oklahoma University, demonstrates his skills at the 2106 NFL combine. Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports

The NFL draft begins today. The projections are many, the anticipation is high. No one knows which NFL cities the players will land in until it actually happens. And ESPN's Todd McShay has his Top 300 prospects for the 2016 NFL draft (Insider) to give the fan an idea of the kinds of lists in NFL war rooms.

Of the nearly 200 players who will be chosen over the next few days, here are a few players to watch with Latino heritage:

ZACK SANCHEZ, CB, OKLAHOMA (McShay's No. 124 prospect)

In ESPN's draft prospect list, Zack Sanchez, a cornerback out of Oklahoma whose father is from Chihuahua, Mexico. Sanchez is No. 124 on McShay's prospect list. Sanchez was raised in Texas. ESPN's Report: He was a fourth-year junior with three years of starting experience. While he isn't elite in any one area, Sanchez is an instinctive cover corner who has adequate size to go along with fluid movement skills.


Martinez, a linebacker who grew up in Arizona, is known for his fundamentals more than his speed. Martinez made it to 147 on the list of top draft prospects. For teams who take character into account, they will be impressed with Martinez. ESPN's Report: He was a team captain and highly productive two-year starter, in addition to being an effective run stopper and capable third down defender with above average instincts.


Duarte, from Orange County, is ranked at 163 by McShay. His heritage is both Hispanic and Asian, with a Mexican-American father and a Japanese-American mother. It's possible Duarte may get a look from the L.A. Rams, who need a wide receiver. ESPN's Report: Duarte is a hybrid wide receiver-tight end prospect. He improved every season at UCLA, with his best year in 2015 before electing to leave school early after his junior year.


In some ways, Aguayo, is the most intriguing prospect, even if his draft prospect listing is 188. That's partly because many of the most successful Hispanic NFL players in the past, including Mexico's Raul Allegre, have been kickers. Aguayo, who has Mexican roots, could be set for a long career in the league if he does well. ESPN's Report: Statistically, Aguayo is the most accurate kicker in NCAA history. He has the confidence and enough leg strength to succeed in the NFL but he wasn't quite as consistent last year as he was his first two seasons.

Click here to follow all the latest draft action with ESPN.