Earlier this week, we had an article up about Lawrence Okoye's ongoing saga to earn a roster spot with the San Francisco 49ers.
Recently, in an English magazine, Okoye was quoted as saying that football is "the hardest thing I've ever done, I'm under no illusions." Well, to be frank, I don't doubt this for an instance. A man trying to learn the game for the first time at a professional level is clearly starting off with a huge learning curve ahead. As has been mentioned a few times by a few different people, Okoye actually has an o-line body type. But, coaches have felt that it would be easier for him to learn the game on the d-line.
And it's worth giving him that opportunity because of how unique of an athlete he is. The man is a sublime combination of size and speed. This is the reason we were all so excited to sign him - even an arm-chair coach drools at Okoye's potential.
But, in a way, this puts the 49ers in a bind. The more I think about the Okoye situation, the more I doubt that it will work out. I really hope I'm wrong. Trust me, I do. But the 49ers have put themselves in a tough place.
For the most part, depth is not an issue for the 49ers. That's why they were able to take some risks in the last draft. Guys can take their time healing up. One area where this isn't true? The d-line. Okoye's potential is there. But what if he hasn't come into his own? What happens then? Do the 49ers take up a coveted roster spot for a guy who could be really good in three seasons? That feels risky to me.
Conversely, as commenter owllab asserted in a recent SB Nation article, the 49ers won't likely be able to stash him on the Practice Squad. Okoye's profile is too high. Other teams want to tap into that potential. I really doubt that he would make it through.
And so, if the 49ers don't want to just cut the man, they are going to have to ask what to do with Okoye. That question looks more and more difficult by the day.