He came into the league especially young and filled with promise, the 10th pick in the 2007 draft.
Now, Houston Texans defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, still just 23, will no longer get snaps based on potential. His team needs production and penetration from its defensive tackles, and if he can’t provide it, coaches can turn to a new alternative.
So Okoye, who figured to be a high-ranking defensive building block with Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing, will head into Texans' camp trying to cling to his role.
"He’s got to find another level and I think he understands that," general manager Rick Smith said. "He’s got to find another level of production, he’s got to find another level of intensity, and I think he gets that. We’re expecting to see that."
Okoye was listed at 315 pounds last season and played at around 300. He is currently 283. Is lighter the way to go? If he gives up any ability to hold the point of attack, we may well be asking if it was a smart trade-off for a bit more quickness, but he’s hoping to hold up better at a lighter weight and being quicker than his blocker.
He says he’s rejuvenated, feeling strong and more explosive.
With Brian Cushing suspended for the early part of the season, Okoye is among many who will need to step up for the Texans. They are currently at 18 in 4for4's team defense rankings, and it's best to use Houston in a platoon situation with another defense if you don't have a defense reliable enough to start on a weekly basis. Houston should put up higher point totals after week four once Cushing returns.