British discus thrower Lawrence Okoye has announced his intentions to sign with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent, he announced on Twitter. Okoye drew significant interest from teams around the league after participating in a regional combine on a whim.
Okoye has never played American football before, which is what makes his case so interesting. He's 6'6, 304 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds at the Dallas Super Regional Combine. It was his first time doing anything even remotely related to American football.
He did play rugby, however, and is clearly athletic and strong enough to play the part. His measurables were enough that some thought he might sneak his way into the later rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft, but instead he's one of the first UDFAs to find a team post-draft.
The 49ers invested heavily in their defense during the draft, bringing in defensive linemen Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial, along with pass rusher Corey Lemonier. Okoye will be fighting an uphill battle not only to learn the game, but to make it on a crowded 49ers roster that took the team to the Super Bowl last season.