Dolphins want to see 330-pound Brazilian judo champ play in preseason
DAVIE, Fla., Aug. 2 (UPI) — He’s a 6-foot-4, 330-pound judo champion who can do a backflip with ease. Now Durval Queiroz Neto is trying to find his way onto an NFL roster.
Queiroz, 26, joined the Dolphins in April as part of the 2019 International Player Pathway Program. He is one of seven players — and the first Brazilian — to participate in program, which began in 2017.
The Dolphins signed Queiroz after watching him at a pro day in Tampa. He entered the off-season as a defensive tackle, but is transitioning to the offensive line.
The program gives elite international athletes a chance to compete at the NFL level, hone their abilities and get a shot to make the roster.
The program gives elite international athletes a chance to compete at the NFL level, hone their abilities and get a shot to make the roster. RELATED Miami Dolphins fire offensive line coach Pat Flaherty
“Everybody in Brazil is rooting for me to make the team,” Queiroz told UPI. “I’m trying. I’m going to give 100 percent. We will see. Advertisementhttps://c426e5e03461d14fe26db3f7114d6775.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Each AFC East franchise will carry an additional international roster spot on its practice squad this season as part of an expansion of the program. The players are eligible for an international player practice squad exemption after training camp. The exemption makes them ineligible to be activated during the season. RELATED Dolphins’ Kenyan Drake not focused on RB1 role
Queiroz also could be added to the regular practice squad, making himself eligible for promotion to the 53-man roster, but also eligible to be released or claimed by another team. If Queiroz were to make the Dolphins’ roster, he also could be demoted to the practice squad.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores said he wants Queiroz to take the field during the preseason.
“There’s definitely an opportunity for him to develop, and he’s taken advantage of that,” Flores said. “He’s getting limited reps, but I like what I’ve seen. He is still learning the game, I would say. [I want to] get him into some preseason games and see what he can do.” Advertisementhttps://c426e5e03461d14fe26db3f7114d6775.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html RELATED Dolphins coach Brian Flores impresses players with Kendrick Norton injury reaction
The Dolphins begin the preseason against the Atlanta Falcons at 7:30 p.m. EDT Aug. 8 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Kenneth Joshen was coaching Brazilian American football power Cuiabá Arsenal in 2015 when he looked toward a parking in Várzea Grande, Brazil. He saw Queiroz step out of a truck with his father and brother, who also have large statures.
“They were like three monsters,” said Joshen, who is now Queiroz’s agent. “I was across the field on the other side. I immediately stopped practice and went over and approached them. I sparked their interest to see how they felt about playing. I asked his dad if he was able to play and he said ‘yes.'”
From there, the journey was in Queiroz’s large hands. He drove 2 1/2 hours every weekend to attend practice and sometimes had a 30-hour road trip for games. He showcased his explosiveness and power, impressing Joshen. Queiroz runs a 4.9-second 40-yard dash. He does a three-cone drill in 7 seconds.
For comparison, just five defensive linemen ran a faster 40-yard dash at this year’s NFL scouting combine. Queiroz’s time in the 40 also is faster than any time posted by the current Dolphins’ defensive tackles who participated in their respective NFL combines. Advertisement
“Anatomically, he is big, but I just saw those intangibles that you really don’t see,” Joshen said. “From that moment on, I thought this kid has a chance to play in the NFL if he dedicates himself.”
Joshen called NFL general managers and coaches after he discovered the International Player Pathway Program. Joshen’s hustle resulted in an invitation to a 12-week training program in Bradenton, Fla. A combine in front of the league’s 32 teams followed. The Dolphins signed him after the workouts.
“I had to calm down and be a pro. I have to make this transition from amateur to pro,” Queiroz said.
He might be seeing limited reps at camp so far, but Queiroz is making his presence known to NFL veterans.
“He’s a physical guy,” Dolphins defensive tackle Davon Godchaux said of Queiroz. “Big, fast, strong guy. Those intangibles he has could be a lot on the NFL football field once he puts them all together.” Advertisement
From the farm
Queiroz grew up and worked on a farm in Diamantino, Brazil. He became stronger by baling hay and tending to horses and cows.
His father had him play tennis, swim and play soccer to keep him out of the house before he hit his growth spurt and turned his focus to judo and football. He became a nationally ranked judo star before he received his invitation to the International Player Pathway program in 2018. He first tried football in 2015.https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fdurvalqueiroz%2Fvideos%2F1668163783269809%2F&show_text=0&width=560
“His being around a farm helped him out tremendously,” Joshen said. “It humbled him a lot and made him appreciate all of this because in Brazil, they don’t have facilities like this.
Joshen believes Queiroz could help the Dolphins form a better defense and team overall as soon as this season, but also understands the team could develop his client.
Carolina Panthers defensive end Efe Obada was the first player from the International Player Pathway Program to earn a spot on a 53-man roster in 2018 with the Dallas Cowboys.
Obada was sent down to the Cowboys’ practice squad before being waived and picked up by several teams. He had eight tackles, two sacks, two tackles for a loss, two passes defensed and an interception in 10 games last season for the Panthers. Advertisement
“I think he is a hardworking young man,” Flores said of Queiroz.” When he got here during the off-season … from a conditioning standpoint, from a technique standpoint fundamental standpoint and learning football, he has come a long way.
“I like the kid a lot. He’s one of the strongest we have on our team.