Last summer, Lawrence Okoye was slinging the discus for Great Britain in the Olympics. (Getty Images)
The draft and the first round of free-agent signings are done. While most players come to the NFL the traditional college-football way, a few take a more winding path. Check out some of the more interesting routes some of the NFL's newest crop of players took to get to the promised land.
Lawrence Okoye (undrafted free agent, signed by San Francisco 49ers): As raw as it gets, Okoye had never even put on a helmet and pads before a pre-draft visit to New Orleans this year. But at 6'6" and 304 pounds, he could make one heck of a defensive lineman. He reached the Olympic finals in discus for his native Great Britain, though he finished last. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh called him "an Adonis, a great physical specimen of a man." So there you go.
Demetrius Harris (UFA, Kansas City): He last played football in high school, then spent the last four years at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee playing basketball. When he got the initial call from Kansas City, he thought it was a practical joke.
Menelik Watson (2nd round, Raiders): Another British product, he played for Florida State but started only 20 football games in his entire college career.
Murphy Holloway (UFA, Baltimore): Like Harris, he played basketball in college, and was one of the key players in Ole Miss' tournament run earlier this year. He'll probably try to catch on as a tight end, the same route followed by Tony Gonzalez.
Margus Hunt (2nd round, Bengals): From Estonia, he only picked up the game in 2009 after winning gold medals at the Junior Olympics. He's 6'8" and a beast of a defensive end, as well as one heck of a potential kick-blocker.
Ezekiel Ansah (1st round, Lions): From Ghana, he's a ridiculous athlete with tons of potential, which you'd better have if you're going in the first round ... even if you're going to the Lions. He didn't even see a football game until 2008, and only started nine games for BYU.
Jesse Williams (5th round, Seahawks): He's a beast at 6'4" and 325 pounds. He's from Australia, and was discovered by Hawaii coaches who were Down Under for a seminar. Williams later transferred to Alabama and played two seasons on a national championship-winning defense.
Duron Carter (rookie camp, Minnesota), Nate Montana (rookie camp, San Francisco), Kyle Long (1st round, Bears), John Laub (rookie camp, Detroit): You may not know the first names, but you know most of the surnames: These are the sons of Cris Carter, Joe Montana and Howie Long and the cousin of Matt Millen. Can they carry on in the tradition of their cherished elders? Long has the best chance, seeing as how he's already been drafted, but the other three will get a solid look at rookie minicamps.
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
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