One of the more popular names in recent mock drafts has been Oregon defensive linemen, Arik Armstead. The San Francisco 49ers will seemingly have several really good options at pick 15, possibly including Armstead should they decide to add to the defensive line.
Let's take a closer look at Armstead and what 49ers fans should know about him.
Arm length: 33"
Hands: 10 ½"
40 yard dash: 5.1
Bench: 24 reps
Vertical Jump: 34"
Broad Jump: 117"
3 cone: 7.57
20-yd shuttle: 4.53
- Fits the mold, physically. Armstead has the size, weight, strength, and length you'd want from an interior defensive linemen or five technique.
- Demonstrates powerful hands and drive off the ball.
- Stacks and sheds blockers well vs the run using combination of length and strength.
- Shows very good athleticism for man his size even dropping into coverage at times.
- Versatile enough to kick inside in nickel packages.
- Really showed improvement after he committed himself 100 percent to football (Also played basketball at Oregon).
- Armstead's on-field production leaves much to be desired. He had his best season in 2014 finishing with 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
- Doesn't rush the passer particularly well.
- Needs refinement in technique to avoid playing tall (tough for someone 6-7).
- Must improve instincts and ability to locate the ball carrier.
Doing Your Homework:
Watch the film on Armstead in the National Championship game against Ohio State here. You can also check out film from the 2014 game vs Florida State and the 2013 game vs Texas over at DraftBreakdown.com.
Why he fits the 49ers:
As the 49ers look to fill the void left by Ray McDonald and await a final word on Justin Smith, Armstead would add another capable body to what has recently been one of the strongest defensive units in football. Darnell Dockett, Tank Carradine, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Glen Dorsey, Quinton Dial, and Ian Williams are the linemen that we KNOW (barring injury) will be out there Week 1. With Justin Smith's status still up in the air and a 33 year old Dockett coming off a serious knee injury, it's clear the 49ers will be looking to add quality depth to the line.
Armstead fits the bill when you consider what he does well (stout against the run, flexibility to play in a base 3-4 and nickel, strong at the point of attack).
Why he doesn't fit the 49ers:
Armstead will be selected in the first round largely based on projections. Which is fine, that's the name of the game. But teams dread missing on their first round picks because they know they how badly it costs their franchises.
When I think of "safe" first rounders, Armstead isn't one of them. That's not to say I don't think he can be really good, because I do. But is he worth the risk when you know he's still very raw and has yet to really put it altogether? Maybe. But if the 49ers are to return to the playoffs in 2015 and beyond, they'll need to get this pick right.
Much has been made about the depth along defensive line in the last few months. But when you consider the six quality linemen currently on the roster (not including Justin Smith) I'm not so sure there is as glaring a need as some might think.
Even if Smith retires, the 49ers may feel his replacement is already on the roster. Then you have to consider the fact that the defense lines up more in the nickel than any other defensive formation meaning they're playing with just two defensive linemen more than half the time.
The 49ers have to ask themselves if Armstead can immediately become one of the two or three best defensive linemen on the roster. If not, I think they pass and draft a developmental lineman later in the draft.
What they're saying:
- Armstead and the 49ers reportedly met at the Combine back in February and must have liked what they heard. They've also set up an official pre-draft visit with Armstead.
- NFL.com's Gil Brandt wrote of Armstead: "Armstead is a huge hit-or-miss guy. He didn't have a lot of production at Oregon (four sacks in three years) for someone with his size, speed and athleticism."
- CBSSports.com's Rob Rank compared Armstead to the Cardinals' Calais Campbell: Armstead hasn't yet shown the strength and physicality that has made Campbell one of the league's best 3-4 defensive ends but the blend of size and athleticism is undeniable.
- Check out Armstead's stats over at cfbstats.com.
Armstead is just scraping the surface of his potential. His unique combination of size and athleticism will outweigh lack of on field production in the minds of scouts.
The 49ers have some legitimate questions along the line but the cupboard certainly isn't bare. I'd suspect he 49ers have a pretty good feeling on if/when Justin Smith will play and this pick may give us a better idea.
I really like Armstead's potential and at times you can really see glimpses of greatness on film. No matter where he ends up I think he'll need a full season or two in the league before he lives up to the sky-high upside. The 49ers need instant production with this pick, as such, I'm not sure Armstead is the answer.