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British discus thrower puts on a show at Regional Combine

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When we noted last week that British discus thrower Lawrence Okoye had decided to put track and field on hold and try to make it in the NFL, we wrote that it seemed unlikely he would be drafted. But after Okoye put on an impressive performance at the Regional Combine in Dallas today, there may just be an NFL team willing to spend a draft pick on a player who has never played a down of football.

Former NFL personnel man Gil Brandt attended the Regional Combine and left saying that Okoye looks like he could be drafted as a defensive lineman.

Okoye measured in at 6-foot-5 3/8 and 304 pounds, and he ran his two 40-yard dashes in 4.88 and 4.78 seconds. That kind of size and speed combination is highly unusual: At the Indianapolis Scouting Combine, only five defensive linemen ran faster than Okoye, and none of those five weighed more than 277 pounds.

Brandt also describes Okoye as “unbelievably active and incredibly explosive in drills” and calls Okoye’s workout “a real, first-class show.”

For NFL teams, spending a draft pick on someone who has never played football is a risk. And spending a draft pick on someone who might just change his mind and decide he wants to go back to track and field is also a risk.

But in the seventh round of the draft, a guy who’s that big, strong and fast may be too tempting to pass up.

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44 Responses to “British discus thrower puts on a show at Regional Combine”
  1. roadtrip3500 says: Apr 7, 2013 4:33 PM

    JPP didn’t play much football and he turned out pretty well. If the Giants spend a late pick on Okoye, the team has the depth at DE for him to take the time to learn the position from Tuck, Kiwi, and the occasional training camp visit from Strahan. Reese has shown you can never have enough quality DEs, and Okoye could be the next in line for East Rutherford’s blue team.

  2. thejabronisayz says: Apr 7, 2013 4:37 PM

    Dontari Poe.

  3. surreal420 says: Apr 7, 2013 4:47 PM

    This guy is going to be a great 3-4 Defensive End.

  4. traevin says: Apr 7, 2013 4:47 PM

    Cowboys in 4th Rd. Jerry Jones seldom does anything with draft picks outside Rd. 1-2, anyway. We couldn’t get a single starter at all in 2009, and Dallas had 12 picks in Rds. 3-7.

  5. pnut87 says: Apr 7, 2013 4:48 PM

    5th round at the absolute best. And that’s ONLY because he’s never played football.

  6. Getoffmylawn! says: Apr 7, 2013 4:49 PM

    Jamarcus Russell. He played football, was drafted and paid very well. Now THAT was a risk!

  7. cullimon says: Apr 7, 2013 4:54 PM

    Lions are on the phone with him

  8. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 7, 2013 5:01 PM

    He looks like Lawrence Taylor. But bigger.

  9. surreal420 says: Apr 7, 2013 5:05 PM

    Looks like a Giant Sized Bo Jackson!

  10. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 7, 2013 5:06 PM

    When Ziggy Ansah was Okoye’s age, he had yet to step on a football field. Ansah isn’t nearly as impressive an athlete, either.

  11. rj88888 says: Apr 7, 2013 5:15 PM

    All Pro potential , maybe a future sack leader. Worthy of a draft pick.

  12. mrpowers88 says: Apr 7, 2013 5:20 PM

    I wouldnt slot him to a 3-4 DE. With his explosion, you could put him anywhere on a 4 man front, and depending on how he adjusts to a 3 point stance or if he ends up losing weight, 3-4 OLB isnt out of the question.

  13. dallas1993 says: Apr 7, 2013 5:24 PM

    If he can fill a gap, who in their right mind would want to run into that guy ?

  14. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 7, 2013 5:27 PM

    Imagine the Jaguars will be all over this guy with the London connection. Their games there would be massive with Okoye on the roster.

  15. taylormade311 says: Apr 7, 2013 5:31 PM

    Horrible Dontari Poe comparison, Poe was only a workout warrior not overly productive at a small school. This guy is a workout warrior but you now he has work ethic because he’s an Olympian. Draft him give him a year to learn the game then unleash him on the league.

  16. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 7, 2013 5:33 PM

    Kid had a scholarship offer from Oxford. Seems extremely bright and well grounded. He would have been the class of the regular Combine if he was invited. Day Two pick.

  17. sixjak says: Apr 7, 2013 5:55 PM

    Cannot teach size or speed. Hope his wildest dreams come true.

  18. britishraven says: Apr 7, 2013 6:06 PM

    It would be great for the NFL over here if he can somehow end up on an active roster

  19. Max says: Apr 7, 2013 6:08 PM

    Looked this guy up last week when the story first came out about him….. all I had to say was wow…. impressive physical specimen! Sign this guy in the 6th or 7th and hope I get lucky.

    The only issue is do you donate a roster spot on the 53 all year for a player who has to develop and may not play until year 2? If there is a way of stashing him away for 1 year and not having him count on the 53 man roster, that will be great… maybe the PUP list

  20. fredsingleton says: Apr 7, 2013 6:12 PM

    You guys are forgetting one thing, he hasn’t played a down of football ever.

    Amazing results at the combine aren’t worth drafting a man who doesn’t know the physicality of the line. Do we even know if he knows anything about football? Difference between A-B-C gaps, 0-1-2 techniques, or anything?

  21. surfinbird1 says: Apr 7, 2013 6:27 PM

    Future in Patriots offensive line.

  22. logicalvoiceshouldsay says: Apr 7, 2013 6:33 PM

    Track and field superstar? Better test him for steroids. I’m a huge fan of track, and I don’t have anything against Okoye personally, so not trying to hate, but there are some many PEDs in that sport it isn’t even funny. Can he thrive on just HGH like the Rodney Harrisons of the NFL? We’ll see.

  23. golforepar says: Apr 7, 2013 6:35 PM

    No legal issues, so that rules out the Lions!

  24. donnymacjack says: Apr 7, 2013 6:44 PM

    He’s coming to the Seahawks in the 4th round.

  25. dalucks says: Apr 7, 2013 6:46 PM

    He sounds like a workout warrior right now due to a lack of experience and reps. I am sure he can be developed into a good lineman if he goes to the right team and spends a year on the practice squad to develop his technique and skillset.
    It would probably be better for him to be an undrafted free agent so he can pick his team. Houston would be a good fit as Wade Phillips does a good job of developing defensive talent.

  26. fishyinalittledishy says: Apr 7, 2013 6:58 PM

    Once the novality wears of and the rigours of camp take hold he will probably lose interest and realise throwing a disc around isn’t so bad after all.

  27. jikkle49 says: Apr 7, 2013 7:05 PM

    If only Al Davis was around he’d be a 1st rounder

  28. EJ says: Apr 7, 2013 7:23 PM

    At that speed, with that size, I’d plug him into DE or OLB in a 3-4. In a 4-3, DT. Somebody is going to take a chance on him. It will probably end up being Belichick.

  29. eastofmissball says: Apr 7, 2013 7:24 PM

    Imagine if he has instinct and a nose for the ball. Fun to watch.. At the least better than watching kickers who never kicked a football.

  30. nikroll101 says: Apr 7, 2013 7:35 PM

    I’d be happy to see the Broncos pick him up in the fourth and hope for the best. It’ll give Ayers a year to prove his worth and if he comes around by 2014 we may have gotten someone with more god given talent than Dumervil.

  31. 13arod says: Apr 7, 2013 7:47 PM

    jags have to sign this guy

  32. johnstone17 says: Apr 7, 2013 7:50 PM

    I would be very cautious using a pick on a guy the has never been hit in his life. Size, speed & strength are all great to have. Gotta be tough to make it in football.

  33. mikebyrne1502 says: Apr 7, 2013 8:02 PM

    This is a good story also, I hope this kid and Brian Banks makes an active roster.

  34. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 7, 2013 8:06 PM

    He excelled at rugby, which isn’t exactly lawn bowling from a physical contact point of view. Obviously wouldn’t shirk the dirty work.

  35. thehouseofho says: Apr 7, 2013 8:17 PM

    For anyone who doubts he’ll be able to handle the physicality of the NFL, the guy was also a rugby player in one of the junior union leagues. He’s definitely tough enough to handle some football.

  36. SparkyGump says: Apr 7, 2013 8:21 PM

    Wasn’t Leon Lett a basketball player? Just imagine this guy creating havoc on a bullrush.

  37. steelcityfinest13 says: Apr 7, 2013 8:25 PM

    If you teach anyone the basics of the game and they have the thirst to want to learn…hey i say dont knock him until he can prove hisself!

  38. tbd3 says: Apr 7, 2013 8:45 PM

    People calling him a potential “future sack leader” are insane. You just read 250 words, 12 of which were said by a former NFL personnel man, about a workout by a guy who has never played a down of football.

    Yeah, it sounds like he’s worth a late-round flyer, but let’s not get carried away.

  39. bountyboy says: Apr 7, 2013 9:47 PM

    This is nonsense! Take him as an undrafted free agent, maybe, and if he shows promise (and I doubt he will) only then does he deserve a chance.

  40. beavertonsteve says: Apr 7, 2013 11:19 PM

    The 49ers have like 35 picks this year… why not?

  41. vaphinfan says: Apr 8, 2013 8:35 AM

    If size and speed was the most important things then you would see teams just doing sprints and lifting all the time and not work on technique, progressions, reads, etc. This guy has never played a down in his life and hes going to go vs pros. I would love to see this. He won’t get drafted he’ll be lucky to go as an undrafted free agent.

  42. thejimius says: Apr 8, 2013 9:57 AM

    I don’t know if I’d call him a workout warrior; the man is an olympian. Obviously he’s a good athlete. I’d put more stake in him than I’d put in somebody who got good combine numbers but performed poorly in college.

  43. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Apr 8, 2013 10:00 AM

    I’m seriously pulling for this guy. He seems classy, has some rugby background and wants to toss his hat into a pretty intense ring few men have the stomach for, so why not root for the man?

  44. jetsfan24 says: Apr 8, 2013 8:46 PM

    Red Ryan would know what to do with this guy… DEFENSIVE MIND GENIUS!!!

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