Lawrence Okoye wants to go from British Olympian to 2013 NFL draftee. Here's the rub: He's never played organized football.
Can he do it?
There's no way to tell, but the Briton has every physical attribute necessary to make things interesting. But for every Ziggy Ansah or Jason Pierre-Paul, there are more Brock Lesnars and other less-memorable names.
We wouldn't be talking about Okoye if he weren’t tremendously athletically gifted. He is an Olympian discus thrower and former rugby player who wowed scouts at the super regional combine in Atlanta.
Physically, he makes you think of J.J. Watt—a large yet trim man who can move around in an abnormal manner.
Don't take this as a proclamation that Okoye is going to match the nearly unanimous 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year in terms of production. Ever. Just that they have similar raw physical abilities.
Take special note of that 40 time. Only two players (Terron Armstead and Lane Johnson) over 277 pounds ran faster at the main combine in Indianapolis.
There isn't anything else needed to be said except Okoye's never played a down of football in his life. He's completely undeveloped from a football standpoint and will require a lot of work to catch up.
Look at Okoye's track record (no pun intended). He wanted to become an Olympian discus thrower, and within three years of taking up the sport, he represented Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics. The amount of training it requires to compete on such a level is astounding, so we know Okoye has determination and a dogged work ethic.
His rugby background should serve him well when dealing with the physicality, but we'll see how he responds to the constant car crashes that occur in the NFL trenches.
Okoye checked in at 6'6" and 304 pounds with 35" arms. That's a well-built, tall man with the length to match his body. Basically, he's a monster.
It's entirely too early to figure out where he will fit with any certainty, but I'm leaning towards him being a 3-4 defensive end who, if he develops solid skills, can do it all.
All measurements and results are according to Gil Brandt at NFL.com.