NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock had another marathon draft conference call on Thursday, and in it he had a chance to address the San Francisco 49ers needs. He suggested that the 49ers would look defensive line, inside linebacker and wide receiver in the first two days, and that Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead was the "logical" pick at No. 15.
Mayock looks at Armstead from the perspective of his upside, talking about the fact that his best football is still in front of him. He sees the 49ers needing line help with Justin Smith potentially retiring and Darnell Dockett coming off his ACL injury. He said that he views Armstead as a prototype defensive lineman to replace Smith.
Armstead raises a lot of question marks due to his production in college. He has the look of an NFL defensive lineman, but he remains raw, and did not produce nearly enough at the college level. We are nearing the end of anonymous scout season, and one of them cut to the chase in an article at NJ.com:
Talented and big as hell. He's the one guy I've had a hard time grading. You watch him and you see the talent of a first-round pick. But then he plays like a fourth-round pick.
It's safe to say there will be plenty of gnashing of teeth if the 49ers decide to draft Armstead. There is a lot of talent, but it's hard to get past the lack of bigger production. Here are a few more anonymous scout takes on Armstead from that NJ.com article:
"He's a man. He shows some pass rush, but doesn't get there.I think he can become a very good player.'' ..."When you're that tall, you either have to have really good strength, or really good technique. He doesn't have either, yet. He plays hard. He's going to be all right.'' ...You know who he reminds of, Chris Canty. He's that kind of player. I don't think he'll ever be a big sack number guy, but he'll play well for you.''