A random little nugget that popped before Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys was word that San Francisco 49ers practice squad defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye was working with the offensive linemen in pre-game drills. Reports since then indicated he was helping on both offensive line and defensive line due to the thin nature of the former group.
Okoye came into the league as a defensive lineman, but his size and athleticism would seem to potentially translate to the offensive line as well. However, Okoye has no intention of giving up his chances as a defensive line. He has focused on defensive line work in his year and a half in the NFL, and given his rudimentary knowledge and technique, it makes sense to focus his learning on one side. That being said, the practice squad requires versatility, with players working at multiple positions to help the team prep each week. Additionally, it does make sense for a new defensive lineman to learn a little bit about what it takes to be an offensive lineman. It would seemingly help the learning process, particularly for someone as raw as Okoye.
Okoye spent last season on injured reserve, which limited what he could do with the team from a practice standpoint. He had a chance to learn plenty in the class-room, but this year on the practice squad could be huge for his development. That does not mean he will suddenly become a great defensive lineman, but this very well could be his biggest year of development.