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Discus thrower-turned-football player learning new position with Jets ~ ~ ~


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It was hard not to notice Lawrence Okoye in the New York Jets' locker room on Monday. First of all, his locker stall was in the middle of the room, detached from the rest because the stalls along the walls were occupied.

Okoye also stood out because of his physique. In a room filled with large and athletic men, his 6-foot-6, 305-pound frame was an attention grabber. "An Adonis," his first NFL coach, Jim Harbaugh, once called him. And freakishly gifted, too.In a recent tryout with the Jets, Okoye blazed the 40-yard dash in 4.77 seconds -- and it wasn't his best effort. Before flying to New Jersey, he clocked a 4.64 for the Seattle Seahawks.

"I was a little bit tired from the flight," he said with a smile, explaining his slight falloff.

This should be interesting, very interesting.

Okoye, a discus record holder who competed for Great Britain in the 2012 London Olympics, signed last Friday to the Jets' practice squad. What makes his arrival particularly fascinating -- aside from the fact that he's a former track star who didn't start playing football until 2013 -- is that Okoye is learning a new position.After playing the defensive line on the practice squads of the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals, Okoye is now an offensive lineman -- right tackle, to be exact.

"I think it's great for my game to have as many skills as possible," he said after his first practice.

Obviously, this is an enormous transition, going from defense to offense, but Okoye, 24, has the measurables. They drew the attention of NFL scouts at the Super Regional combine in Texas, where he ran a 4.78. He signed a free-agent deal with the 49ers. Their coach at the time, Harbaugh, was blown away by Okoye's physical stature. Asked how he felt about Okoye, Harbaugh told reporters, "Inadequate. That was my first impression, standing next to him. ... A great physical specimen of a man. Our creator created a beautiful man."

The 49ers gave up on him after two years, cutting him at the end of the preseason. He spent six weeks on the Cardinals' practice squad before they, too, sent him away last month.Okoye remains undaunted, supremely confident in his potential. He's not accustomed to failure. Look at his background. He qualified for the Olympics after only two years of full-time discus training and he has an outstanding offer from the Oxford University law school."I'm ready to play now," he said, meaning on defense. "I feel like I've come a long way. I've developed a lot of skills, and there are things I can do that are pretty ... not unique, but pretty good, things that can help the team. Obviously, I'm waiting for my opportunity. I'm learning as much as possible in the mean time."

On Monday, Okoye was a stranger in a new world. No one on the team, he said, knew anything about his unusual background. And he was cool with that.

"It's good if they don't know," he said. "It looks like I've been playing football for a long time."

>       http://espn.go.com/blog/newyork-jets/post/_/id/56189/discus-thrower-turned-football-player-learning-new-position-with-jets

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It's always worth taking a flyer on these physically gifted beasts.  A lot of them never 'get' football and cannot master the necessary techniques to play in the NFL but they are worth a look see.

As long as you aren't doing it with a top 10 draft pick, sure I agree.

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As long as you aren't doing it with a top 10 draft pick, sure I agree.

The ghost of Al Davis will be paying you a visit.  Also Vernon does not approve, hey Vernbust at least had some results to back up his pick.  I wonder if Mac is talking trade with Houston for Clowney!!!!

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Main attribute is running fast and we move him to RT?  Seems strange.  305 is actually getting to be light for a tackle these days, but he is supposed to be pretty smart and that is generally important for linemen.

Thought the same thing...make him a blocking TE and see if he can catch at all.... Not like we have any TE's

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Enough with these non football  players already.  If 1 in 20 sees more than a handful of NFL games then that's a lot.  Save the PS for UDFAs with promise and not total projects.  This is the perfect place to take a player in a position of need and let him have one season to see if he develops, not for a player that will need 2-3 years minimum.  For my money you should people it with for example a kick return specialist, a blocking TE specialist, or whatever specialist, give them one season to prove their worth and then move on, rinse and repeat.          

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Enough with these non football  players already.  If 1 in 20 sees more than a handful of NFL games then that's a lot.  Save the PS for UDFAs with promise and not total projects.  This is the perfect place to take a player in a position of need and let him have one season to see if he develops, not for a player that will need 2-3 years minimum.  For my money you should people it with for example a kick return specialist, a blocking TE specialist, or whatever specialist, give them one season to prove their worth and then move on, rinse and repeat.          

Doesn't he come under the foreign player status which doesn't count on the PS?? 

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Enough with these non football  players already.  If 1 in 20 sees more than a handful of NFL games then that's a lot.  Save the PS for UDFAs with promise and not total projects.  This is the perfect place to take a player in a position of need and let him have one season to see if he develops, not for a player that will need 2-3 years minimum.  For my money you should people it with for example a kick return specialist, a blocking TE specialist, or whatever specialist, give them one season to prove their worth and then move on, rinse and repeat.          

The guy has been in 2 NFL camps and has spent parts of 2 seasons on NFL practice squads.  He is as much an NFL player as Tahj Boyd.

Doesn't he come under the foreign player status which doesn't count on the PS?? 

I'm not sure it is still a thing.  They cut the midget fast WR/return man and a CB, but they also signed Titus Davis and Jarvis Harrison back to the practice squad.  I think they are allotted 10 slots and they have only 9 right now, but presumably they will cut somebody and slide them back to the practice squad when the reactivate Enunwa.

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The guy has been in 2 NFL camps and has spent parts of 2 seasons on NFL practice squads.  He is as much an NFL player as Tahj Boyd.

I'm not sure it is still a thing.  They cut the midget fast WR/return man and a CB, but they also signed Titus Davis and Jarvis Harrison back to the practice squad.  I think they are allotted 10 slots and they have only 9 right now, but presumably they will cut somebody and slide them back to the practice squad when the reactivate Enunwa.

think they have 10 they signed TJ Barnes to the ps 

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