Lawrence Okoye 'learning the game'

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Lawrence Okoye would rather not watch film of his work from early last training camp.

"I think I'd cringe if I saw it," the San Francisco 49ers' raw but intriguing defensive lineman said Tuesday after an OTA session.

Okoye is confident that he will enter training camp next month a much better player than he was in his first NFL camp.

"No comparison," said. "Not even close."

Okoye is very much still adjusting to the game. He was a member of the British Olympic discuss team in 2012. The 49ers signed him last year based on his astounding size, speed and strength.

Still, he was a major project.

"You can be as fast and strong as you want to be, but if you don't know football you are going to get blown off the ball," Okoye said.

Later getting hurt last summer, Okoye was able to "learn football" by watching hours of film daily and picking the brains of his coaches and teammates.

"I know the game now," Okoye said. "It's a tremendous difference."

Okoye said he senses he is earning the respect of his teammates as he shows his growth on the practice field. He has a long way to go and is likely a candidate for the practice squad, but there is no doubt this physical specimen is starting to catch onto the mental side of the game as he enters a critical year in his development.