SANTA CLARA — Nearly 30 years after Bill Walsh selected Olympic shot putter Michael Carter as one of his finest draft picks, the 49ers again are considering an Olympian in Lawrence Okoye, Britain's record holder in the discus.
Okoye, a potential defensive lineman, made a pre-draft visit to the 49ers on Wednesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
After finishing last in the discuss at the 2012 London Games, Okoye began embarking on a potential NFL career. A former rugby player, he participated in an NFL regional tryout in Atlanta before advancing to Sunday's super regional combine in Dallas.
Okoye, 21, checked in at 6-foot-5 and 304 pounds. He reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.88 seconds and 4.78 seconds. He is scheduled to visit the New Orleans Saints on Friday before returning to London to obtain his visa.
Okoye could be the latest in a line of Olympians and track-and-field stars to suit up for the 49ers, who have 13 draft picks.
Carter, a 1984 silver medalist, was drafted him in the fifth round (121st overall) in 1984. He won three Super Bowls in his nine seasons as a staunch nose tackle, and Walsh considered him one of his four best all-time draft picks, along with Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Dwight Clark.
Other past Olympians who played for the 49ers were Bob Hayes and Ray Norton, sprinters in the 1960s. Renaldo Nehemiah and Jeff Stover also were accomplished track-and-field stars who couldn't compete in the 1980 Olympics because of the U.S. boycott.
The 49ers have five picks in the draft's first 93 selections, followed by two picks in the fourth round, one in the fifth, two in the sixth and three in the seventh.