When you think of Hispanic football players only a few names tend to pop up. One of the first names that most fans think of first is Tony Gonzalez because of the prolific career he has had. Victor Cruz may be another or even the Gramatica brothers. Unless you are a very knowledgeable fan or you follow Hispanic football players, you probably can't think of more than a handful of active players in the NFL who are Hispanic. The NFL currently recognizes 31 players officially recognized as Hispanic.
Undrafted free agent and WR Michael Rios is attempting to join the ranks of NFL athletes. Rios brings up his Cuban American heritage in an interview with Damond Talbot of NFL Draft Zone because at one point he believed, because he was Hispanic (and short), he wouldn't be able to make it to the NFL. He had this to say on this dream of being an NFL football player
"I never thought it was a realistic goal, because I was Hispanic and short; that changed right away once I hit my growth spurt senior year of high school and I got dramatically faster. Once I realized my potential; my focus intensified and my priorities shifted to being the best football player I can be."
Rios was lucky in many ways attributing to the support of this family. His parents came over from Cuba and did everything they could to provide for Rios and his siblings and give them the things they didn't get growing up in Cuba.
On playing football Rios sees himself as a "...a mix between Mike Wallace and Jordy Nelson. Braylon Edwards, but with better hands."
Rios has an uphill struggle considering the depth chart of the Arizona Cardinals. At 6'1, 205 he has the size. At his pro day he ran a 4.45, a solid outing showing that he has NFL speed though it certainly isn't elite. Coming for Marist College he also has to battle the stigma of playing at a small school. Rios does have some accomplishments holding the Marist record for single receiving yards in a game (205) and is the school's all-time leader in receiving touchdowns with 17.
Rios has the blue-collar, lunch-pail attitude that you want in a player and will be someone to look out for in training camp.