The folks over at National Football Post have done a good job in recent years of rounding up some notable scouting talent. They have a variety of former scouts, executives and agents providing insight into numerous aspects of football. They are not the be-all, end-all of analysis, but this group of writers can add a little context to our understanding of a given topic.
One such writer is Greg Gabriel, the Chicago Bears former Director of College Scouting, and a man who spent 30 years in NFL scouting. The Bears fired Gabriel in 2010, but prior to that he had been with them since 2001. He spent 16 years prior to that with the New York Giants.
Earlier this month, Gabriel put together his thoughts on each division's draft classes. He did not grade them, but rather just put together a few ideas about most of the picks for each team. His grades are a mix of his own thoughts, as well as stuff he has heard. For Arik Armstead in particular, he brought up the questions about his toughness and love of the game. I've heard counters to some of that, and Armstead himself says that is BS. That's something we can't know about until we see him get out on the field.
He seemed to like Jaquiski Tartt. He points out that Tartt could have some trouble in deep coverage, but has "great football character" and will do whatever is necessary to become a good NFL player. "Great football character" is kind of a nebulous phrase, and seems to be an attempt to cover for "loves football". I don't know for certain, but it strikes me as a football cliche.
In discussing Mike Davis, Gabriel calls him a good inside runner and a solid receiver. He thinks he played "a bit too heavy" last season. Weight with rookies is frequently an issue to consider. As we have heard with Trent Brown, the dietary set-up is often far from ideal at the collegiate level, even for a big time program. Every 49ers rookie likely has had a chance to speak with the team's nutritionists and medical staff to get the right program in place as they transition to the NFL.
He writes off Bradley Pinion, Ian Silberman and Trenton Brown as practice squad types, so there is not much to add. However, he seems intrigued by seventh round pick Busta Anderson. He sees him as a developmental prospect with good upside. He says he "has the natural tools to be a good 'move' tight end." I had not heard that phrase before, but a quick search reveals it to be the "Joker" role that is also sometimes called "U" tight end. Seahawks assistant Tom Cable described the role as follows:
"In terms of the 'U' tight end, he is certainly going to have some responsibility to block, but I think on a list of the top important things for him, on a list of five - that's fifth. He's going to be moving around, blocking on the move, but he's probably going to be more thought of as a playmaker-receiver type."
Again, these are just the thoughts of one person. He has extensive scouting experience, so there is some value to this. Consider it just one more look at the 49ers 2015 draft class.