One of the more talked about players this offseason has been the progress of San Francisco 49ers second-year DE Lawrence Okoye. The British record-holder in the discus, Okoye had high hopes as he tried to make a name for himself in the NFL. Originally signed as an undrafted rookie free-agent last season, Okoye was considered a raw project at best. However, that NFL dream may have came to a close, as Okoye will likely not crack the 53-man roster.
The 49ers have great depth along the defensive line making Okoye the odd man out. The Niners already have entrenched starters DE Ray McDonald, DE Justin Smith, and NT Glenn Dorsey, and with quality backups such as NT Ian Williams, DL Tony Jerod-Eddie, and DE Demarcus Dobbs that leaves little breathing room for Okoye. Not to mention, the 49ers will have two healthy players from their 2013 rookie draft class in DE Tank Carradine and NT Quinton Dial, you can see why Okoye misses the cut.
Does Okoye show potential of being a quality NFL player? Sure he does. His rare blend of size and athleticism are off the charts evident by him chasing down CB Darryl Morris on kickoff coverage during OTAs, but that’s not enough to warrant a roster spot. The 49ers already have special-team aces in LB Blake Costanzo, WR Kassim Osgood, and ST Bubba Ventrone, and with other rookies like DL Kaleb Ramsey getting a look, the writing is on the wall that Okoye will likely not be retained.
With Training Camp to begin next month, Okoye will need to show more promise and make the most of his opportunities as this will likely be his last shot to make the 49ers roster. A player that has all the potential in the world, Okoye will now need to display that on the field if he wants to win a roster spot.