NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
Arik Armstead has been a guy on my list to watch for some time now. His name has popped up in many conversations I have had with draftniks and Patriots fans, so I thought now is as good of time as any to finally get to his tape. On paper, his measurables jump off the page and it is hard not to get excited to see what this kid can do. The question is, does it translate to the field. Read on to get my opinion on this polarizing prospect.
Name: Arik Armstead
School: Oregon (Jr.)
Weight: 292 Lbs
40 yard dash-5.10 sec
20 yard shuttle-4.53
Obviously, the first thing that jumps out as you is Armstead’s size. He has long arms and huge hands as well. He is well proportioned and moves extremely well for someone that size. He has heavy hands and a powerful punch that can move even the biggest of opponents. He is surprisingly stout against the run and shows above average lower body strength for someone with such long limbs. Armstead is athletic and fluid in his movements and is light on his feet. When rushing the passer he has a good bull rush. Overall, he has unique size and athleticism that has potential if it can be coached up.
Armstead is raw. He lacks explosion and is consistently the last guy on the line to move. Armstead is rarely the aggressor. He stands straight up when coming out of his stance and allows the offensive lineman to get their hands on him first far too often. He is inconsistent with his hand use and must learn to take advantage of his arm length by extending them. At his size, Armstead must learn to play with better leverage if he is going to be successful in the NFL. He struggles to disengage from blocks once the lineman gets their hands on him. Armstead has a limited set of moves when rushing the passer. To me, it looks like his motor may run hot and cold as well.
This will be an interesting case study for me. I see him in a lot of mock drafts as a mid first round pick, and I just don’t see it. I get that his size and athleticism are rare, but he is a long term project in my mind. I see a guy who was given an opportunity to produce and never really did. Right now, he is not a pass rusher and I honestly don’t know if he ever will be. To me, he is a run stuffing 5tech in a 3-4 defense and even at that he needs work on technique and consistency. I can see the intrigue, but no way do I spend a first round pick on someone who needs so much work. He will be drafted purely on his rare physical traits and the raw potential, not based on what the film shows. I say let another team draft him high which allows another player to fall to the Patriots. I will give him a late 3rd round grade only because of his physical gifts and some raw athletic traits that could be developed over time, but I know he will be long gone before then, and I am just fine with that.