Bears hosting British discus thrower

The Chicago Bears have scheduled a pre-draft visit with Lawrence Okoye, a discus thrower from England who has amazing athleticism but has never played a down of football in his life.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Chicago Bears are one of three teams scheduled to visit with draft prospect Lawrence Okoye.

If you've never heard of Okoye, don't worry, you're not alone. A track-and-field star from Great Britian, Okoye has never played a down of football in his life. Throughout his professional career, Okoye has been a discus thrower, a sport in which he finished 12th in last year's Olympics.

He came to the United States this winter to train in a warm-weather environment down South. When he found out there was a regional combine in Atlanta, Okoye applied.

Lawrence Okoye
Stu Forster/Getty

"At the combine, I really stood out because of my size, strength and speed," Okoye told the Daily Mail. "I don't want to sound arrogant but I was good on the day – to the point that a lot of NFL clubs began talking to me immediately on the back of it."

Okoye measured 6-5, 304 at the regional combine. He ran his two 40-yard dashes in 4.88 and 4.78 seconds. Only five defensive linemen at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine ran faster than Okoye, although none weighed more than 277 pounds. To say Okoye is a freak athlete is an understatement but what position will he play in the NFL?

"They all see me as a defensive end, which suits me just fine," said Okoye. "I've had some meetings since, and done some private workouts with some clubs, too, and already they are talking to me about contracts."

Along with the Bears, Okoye has also met with the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints. Having never played a down of football in his life, it would be surprising if he's drafted next weekend. At the very least, his amazing blend of size and speed will earn him an invite to training camp as an undrafted free agent. Although one NFL team might be so enamored with Okoye they'll spend a seventh rounder on him.

Okoye apparently looked fluid and explosive during his workout and turned the heads of everyone in attendance. Yet he's as raw a player as there ever was, which is why the Bears are visiting with him privately, to get an up-close look at him. If they like what they see and believe he has the potential to play in the NFL, then he'll be on the club's radar late in the draft. If the buzz around Okoye becomes too loud, it's possible the Bears will use their sixth-round pick on a player whose upside shows no boundaries.

Keep Okoye in mind as the end of this year's draft approaches. He could be the late-round flier nobody sees coming.

Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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