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Sounds like Lawrence Okoye will step up in competition this preseason

The 49ers British defensive lineman appears to be making some progress as he enters year three.

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

For those on the lookout for news regarding San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Lawrence Okoye, fret no more! Head coach Jim Tomsula met with the media and he had a chance to speak about Okoye while discussing the team's defensive line depth.

Okoye has gotten playing time the last two preseasons, but it has been against the back end of the opposing team's roster. As a guy entering the game in the second half of preseason games, Okoye has been playing against third and fourth string offensive linemen. It appears he will get a bigger challenge this year:

"This year, he's going to be in there against guys that are going to make the other team," Tomsula said. "Let's see where we're at."

Okoye is entering his third year with the team. He spent a sizable chunk of his first year on injured reserve, which gave him time to learn in the classroom while observing on the field. He spent his second year on the practice squad, which allowed him to work on the field and improve his craft. As he heads into year three, it would be a disappointment if he was not advancing to face stiffer competition.

I still think he ends up on the practice squad this year, but maybe he'll surprise us and snag a roster spot. While we continue to wait for word on Justin Smith's potential return or retirement, the line could still be pretty deep if the team invests a pick in it. It remains an uphill climb for Lawrence Okoye, but at least he appears to be making some progress.