Arik Armstead is one of the most intriguing (and gifted) players in the 2015 NFL Draft. Before we dive into his scouting report let’s take a look at the results of his athletic testing — courtesy of Mockdraftable.com.
Right off the bat, you realize that Arik Armstead is an imposing physical figure. The scariest part about his physical development is that he’s only 21 years old and won’t be 22 until late into the 2015 season. He already carries his weight extremely well and has a frame that can fill out even further in an NFL strength and conditioning program.
At this point in his football career, Armstead is already extremely strong. Where this really shows up is his bull rush. Armstead has one of the most devastating bull rushes in the class, which is wildly impressive for a defensive lineman hovering around 290 pounds. Watch these two plays from Oregon’s Rose Bowl game versus Florida State, and the National Championship Game versus Ohio State.
In the second clip you’ll see Armstead do a quick swim move to beat the guard off the snap and then barrel into the running back before forcing Cardale Jones to run out of the pocket.
It’s good for young, developing pass rushers to have go to move they can use for early success in the NFL. For Armstead, his bull rush is going to be his calling card as he develops as a defensive lineman. The bull rush is a great place to start — you can branch off a myriad of moves that are started by a good bull rush. He also shows quick hands at the point of attack which allow to hit a quick swim or rip upon first contact with an offensive lineman.
Armstead is already a very good interior rusher, but he’s shown flashes rushing from the outside as well. This bodes well for his potential fit in a 3-4 defense as a 5-technique.
Armstead is no slouch against the run game either. He’s stout at the point of attack and doesn’t get moved off the line. He’s also athletic enough to string outside runs towards the sideline, and quick enough to go against the grain of zone blocking schemes to make backside tackles away from his gap.
Armstead is also pretty good with his hand usage. He consistently shoots his hands into offensive linemen’s chest which allows him to extend with his long arms and control the point of attack. Armstead can also hold his own against double teams at times, but he should work on skills that will allow him to penetrate double teams instead of taking them on and holding them at the line of scrimmage.
Arik Armstead essentially has unlimited potential.
With his size, athleticism, and age, the sky is the limit for Armstead. All of his weaknesses can be fixed with proper coaching and dedication to his craft, we’ll get to those now. Watching Armstead grow from his 2013 tape to his 2014 tape is amazing — if he keeps ascending like this, he’s going to be an incredible NFL player.
Armstead is good with his initial hand pop, but he needs to work on his disengagement skills. He could win so many more reps if he paired his athleticism and hand placement with moves to get rid of offensive linemen to make plays in the backfield.
As is the problem with most tall defensive linemen, Armstead to stay low at times. Offensive linemen can get underneath his shoulder pads easily which will usually turn into a losing rep at the NFL level. His pad level also gets too high when taking on double teams, which leads him riding off into the sunset on some plays. When Armstead is gassed, he gets lazy with his technique which turns into bad reps on film. This brings me to my next point.
Armstead appears to be in terrible shape — he’s often gassed and relatively ineffective in the second half of games. If the team he’s facing has a physical offensive line (Florida State) or an up-tempo, spread attack (Ohio State) Armstead struggles to play full speed the entire game. If Armstead realizes how utterly dominant of a player he can be, he’s going to terrorize NFL offensive lines.
Floor: Chris Canty, Baltimore Ravens
Ceiling: Calais Campbell, Arizona Cardinal
IDEAL SCHEME FITS
4-3 Strongside Defensive End
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are bringing in a new regime led by new head coach Jim Tomsula. Tomsula was a defensive line coach before being promoted to head coach so he may believe he can get the most out of Armstead and turn him into a dominant defensive lineman. The possible retirement of Justin Smith only amplifies this need.
The Browns could use more firepower on defense and in the long run, Armstead can be just that. Armstead would be a natural fit in the teams 3-4 look.
The Colts need a difference maker on their defensive line. Cory Redding played well there last year, but they need an infusion of youth. Armstead makes a lot of sense for Indianapolis moving forward.
Armstead’s draft stock is all over the place. There are some saying he should be a top-15 pick (put me on that boat) and others saying he’s an early second rounder. I doubt there’s any way he falls out of the first round hit his skill set and upside. Look for Armstead to be a first rounder come April 30th.