One of the newer members of the San Francisco 49ers had some big-time comments about two of his new teammates. Darnell Dockett said that rookie Arik Armstead has potential similar to that of Calais Campbell, and the sky is the limit for Nick Moody. Obviously we take all these kinds of comments with a certain grain of salt, but Dockett did provide some details as to why he thinks that for each guy.
Armstead and Campbell are similar in height, but Dockett was most impressed with Armstead's natural athleticism and body type. He talked about his time playing basketball and feels Armstead will be a dominant force in the league. He thinks the set-up in Santa Clara is ideal for Armstead with a great strength and conditioning program, and strong vets from which he can learn. Dockett said it comes down to how bad he wants it.
In talking about Moody, Dockett said he had spent a lot of time working out with Moody in the offseason. He talked about walking in early one day this past week and seeing Moody by himself studying film. Dockett said he would be surprised if he did not have a huge year because of how hard he works. Moody is handling first team ILB duties next to NaVorro Bowman while Michael Wilhoite remains on the NFI list.
The key for both Armstead and Moody is continuing to learn. Although Moody has a couple years under his belt now, he came into the league, like Armstead, fairly raw at his position. Moody was a safety for a significant stretch of his college career, and acknowledged he is still improving some of the most basic technique issues. He thinks he has learned more about that this offseason than in the past couple years. My guess is the team had him focused on special teams, and he did not get the kind of reps at linebacker that would allow him to improve on the basics for a linebacker.
As for Armstead, he has gotten some positive buzz thus far in training camp. While the natural athleticism is important, he will need to build on that from a technical standpoint, as well as an instinctual standpoint. The latter can come with game action, while the former is a matter of putting in the time on the practice field. There is no reason to think he is not willing to put in the time, but we'll wait and see how it shows up in game action.