Defensive tackle Frank Okam has been getting smaller during offseason workouts. The 6-5 rookie has lost about five pounds in the sweltering Houston heat to bring his weight down around 330.
But his daily performance during OTA practices is getting increasingly bigger in the eyes of head coach Gary Kubiak.
"There's a chance for this kid to play very early for our team," Kubiak said of the fifth-round draft pick out of Texas. "He's got a big body. I think he has kind of played the game with his size being an advantage to everything he's done, but we also think he's got some athletic tools to work with movement-wise, so we are trying to add to his game from that standpoint. But he's a guy that could help this team very, very early. I think we all know that, so we are trying to push him along."
Kubiak and defensive line coach Jethro Franklin aren't the only ones bringing Okam up to speed. Injured nose tackle Travis Johnson has offered advice the film room, and was heard shouting pointers at Okam from the sideline at practice on Wednesday. Okam said second-year defensive tackle Amobi Okoye has "really been in my corner and really trying to help me out and help me learn the material."
Okam perhaps has learned the most simply from watching Okoye and defensive end Mario Williams at work.
"You see the kind of passion they have for the game and how well they do at it, and (the two of them) in the film room just coaching me up has been very valuable," Okam said. "You can probably see a little bit each day as I'm learning and catching on and see what (we're) doing, things you can and don't do in this league to be successful."
As he does, Okam continues to improve his chances of contributing in a big way come September.