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Feb 2019


Chuks Okorafor’s journey to the NFL is the perfect description of “the American dream”

Behind the Steel Curtain

When it comes to taking advantage of an opportunity, Chuks Okorafor is the perfect example of this.

During the 2018 NFL Draft, in the third round the Pittsburgh Steelers took an offensive tackle named Chukwuma Okorafor out of Western Michigan.

If you are like me, you heard/saw the name you had the same response:

“Who?”

The more you read/watched of Okorafor as a player you saw immense talent, just very raw in nature. The best description I read of the man they call ‘Chuks’ stated how if he would have attended Alabama, and not Western Michigan, he would have been a first rounder.

Okorafor played sparingly in 2018, starting one game against the Denver Broncos and being the extra tight end on heavy run packages. This participation was more than many expected of him on draft day. However, what I didn’t know was Okorafor’s complete story to get to the NFL.

He posted the following on his verified Twitter account a few weeks ago:

When you look at the dates in his tweet, you can’t help but be amazed by his journey. He had played football just 7 years before being drafted in the NFL. Not many can say they had just this amount of exposure to such a technical game/position before reaching the professional ranks.

If Okorafor is somehow able to continue on this trajectory he very well could become the next great offensive tackle for the Steelers for years to come. As he enters his second NFL season he will be a large part of the team, either as depth or a potential starter if veteran Marcus Gilbert isn’t brought back due to his inability to stay healthy over the past two season.

Could Okorafor be the latest diamond the Steelers found in the rough? It may be too early to suggest this, but the more you learn about Okorafor the realization sets in you might not want to bet against him.

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