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.