Last week, I put together a quick breakdown of the limited work Lawrence Okoye got in the 49ers preseason opener against the Denver Broncos. The 49ers British Olympian import got six snaps, and while he struggled with a lot of the basics, it provided a chance for him to get on the field for the first time outside of practice. He struggled with leverage issues, and generally got pushed around, but it was a big step in his development as a football player.
The 49ers faced the Chiefs last Friday, and the official NFL game book says Okoye got four snaps on defense. I only saw three of the snaps, but either way, there was not a lot to expect. He continues to have leverage issues, as can be expected from a 6-6 defensive lineman. On one of the plays he did seem to move forward, but the plays developed a little too quickly to see exactly what he was accomplishing.
Things get interesting this week and next week. While the 49ers are not a team to follow convention in terms of third game playing time, extended starter playing time would limit the chances to get Okoye on the field, even in the fourth quarter. The 49ers still have several players they need to check out, and given Okoye's likely roster status, he could get shuffled aside for this one.
The question facing the 49ers is whether or not Okoye makes it past the cut down to 75 players. I remain convinced that if he clears waivers, Lawrence Okoye will sign with the 49ers practice squad. However, given that the team has limited options in cutting down to 75, wouldn't it make sense to release Okoye next Tuesday, and then sign him to the practice squad the following Sunday when the team gets the eight-man squad together?
All of this is assuming he clears waivers, but given what we've seen so far, would we really see another team spend a roster spot on a guy who will not see the field this season? Anything is possible, but I would be pretty surprised to see that happen.
In looking at potential candidates for next Tuesday's deadline to 75 payers, it was not exactly simple figuring out those final few players. Do we slot in Okoye given the need to assess several other players?