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.

44 responses to “British discus thrower puts on a show at Regional Combine

  1. 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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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?

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