Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but Fooch is a crazy person who manages this blog with no rhyme or reason and it's worked so far. Who am I to argue?
The San Francisco 49ers were frequently connected to defensive tackle Arik Armstead throughout the pre-draft process. Numerous mock drafts had the 49ers selecting Armstead, with 17 of the 31 mocks in our database suggesting that. I suspect many people thought that meant the team was clearly looking in another direction, but that turned out not to be the case. On draft day, he 49ers traded down two spots with the San Diego Chargers, and selected Armstead with the No. 17 overall pick.
The move was not a surprise based on the position. After all, the 49ers had seen Justin Smith retire a few months after the team released Ray McDonald. Smith did not announce his retirement until May, but it is clear the team knew what was up prior to that. And even if Smith had returned, he was not going to be around for probably more than another year, so reinforcements were needed.
What surprised some folks was the player selected. Armstead was a 3-4 defensive end at Oregon, focusing primarily on run defending. However, he is fairly raw in his pass rushing skills, and has been able to rely on his physical gifts for the most part. David Neumann put together a film breakdown on Armstead earlier this year, and his takeaways were of a guy who had strength and power on his side, but needed to work on leverage and overall consistency at the point of attack. He did not appear on film to have specific elite level tools, which means he will need development across the board before he can make an impact.
Here are some pre-draft scouting reports:
What to expect in 2015:
Armstead is a tough one to project out. He missed the entire offseason workout program due to a late graduation date brought about by Oregon's quarter system. He was able to attend rookie minicamp, and has been able to work at the facility since graduation, but his time with the coaching staff was incredibly limited. He spoke with the coaches after the draft and at rookie minicamp. Strength and conditioning coaches can observe and make sure he is properly handling gym equipment at the facility, but he technically cannot work with the coaching staff to prepare for training camp.
The positive for Armstead heading into camp is there will be lots of opportunities to make an impact. With Smith and McDonald out of the picture, the defensive line will potentially include Glenn Dorsey and Quinton Dial at the 3-4 defensive end roles, Darnell Dockett and Tank Carradine as the defensive tackles when they move into the nickel, and Tony Jerod-Eddie as potentially a utility piece. We will get a better handle on this in the coming weeks, but that is where things look for now.
However, Dockett is coming off a torn ACL last year, and Tank has been slow to develop for the 49ers. He finally got onto the field with consistency the latter half of last season, but he is still a work in progress. It is hard to know what kind of reps Armstead will get even in training camp practices given his absence from the defensive installation in May and June. The worst case sees him inactive most of the season, while the best case is a tough one to figure. I don't think moving right into the starting lineup is a realistic possibility as a rookie, but I suppose he could surprise us. And of course, injuries are always a potential factor.
If I had to guess, I would see him being inactive at least half the season. My primary concern is learning the playbook after missing the entire offseason workout program. I hope for a surprise, but I am keeping expectations fairly low for now.
Odds of making the roster:
First round picks are not cut in their first year. We've learned a year two trade is never out of the question, but we have nothing to work with at this point. The bigger question remains how much activity we will see from Armstead in his rookie season. If I set the over/under on games inactive at 8.5, would you take the over or under?