This piece is part of a project in which Jason and Caleb analyze the top eight Ducks’ prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft. The prospects will be listed in the order in which they are projected to be drafted. Enjoy.
No 2: Arik Armstead
Position: Defensive Line
Overview: It should not be surprising to see Arik Armstead so high on our list. The junior decided to forgo his senior season so he could take his talents to the NFL. As you see in the bio above, Armstead possesses size that would scare anyone playing against him. Drawing comparisons to Calais Campbell of the Arizona Cardinals, Armstead has the size and intangibles that coaches and GM’s look for at the next level. Armstead is considered one of the most athletic guys in the country, even with his massive size. Armstead was also recruited to play basketball at the University of Oregon, but he quit before last football season so he could place all of his efforts on football and making it to the NFL - boy is that decision paying off.
Last season, Armstead definitely underperformed, combining for 46 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He was dealing with an ankle injury most of the season, but he toughed it out and contributed to his team in the best way he could. Upon completion of the season, Armstead received an invite to the NFL combine. At the combine in Indianapolis, he ran a 5.1 second 40-yard dash and put up 24 reps on bench press. While these numbers are not necessarily mind-blowing, Armstead is considered one of the best defensive prospects in this year’s draft class.
Strengths: Despite putting up underwhelming numbers last season, Arik showed signs of improvement from previous seasons. Maturation is a very important characteristic when someone is being judged on his worthiness of playing in the NFL. Armstead possesses great strength off the line, often using his massive body to control offensive linemen, helping to open up holes for the linebackers to storm in and make tackles. If Armstead can learn how to use his height to defend passes, then another aspect of his game will improve and make him a better overall player. Armstead has size rarely seen in a guy coming out of college. He has room to put on more weight if the team he goes to deems it necessary to do so.
Weaknesses: Despite being bigger than almost everyone he faced this past season, Armstead has issues with imposing his will on the line. As earlier said, he has the ability to knock an offensive lineman off his track, but he lacks the closing speed and consistent strength to make big plays. If Armstead can work on his speed and increase his strength levels, then the monster of a man will be able to take his game to another level.
Jason Selby: I am very excited to see what the future has in store for Armstead. His overall size makes him a top target for many teams looking for a defensive lineman. I was a little bit disappointed in his numbers from last season. A guy looking at a potential first-round pick should have dominating numbers and should dominate on a consistent basis. Armstead is incredibly athletic and has a high football IQ. If he can develop himself as a player, then we will be watching a human wrecking ball at work. He definitely has a lot of work to do at the next level, but again, he has size that so many players wish they had. His basketball background further proves the athletic nature he brings to the field. Maybe losing weight could help – he just needs to figure out how to be a consistent player at the next level. Watch out offensive linemen!”
Caleb Couturie: ”Physically, Armstead is a freak of nature. He’s got the body NFL scouts normally drool over, and he still has room to fill out his frame. He can be lightning quick off the ball, and with his size he can overpower almost anyone trying to get in his way. So, here’s the question: Why doesn’t he? Armstead has the ability to be one of the better defensive linemen at the next level, but his inability to show any resemblance of consistency has put up some huge red flags. If he can prove he has the work ethic required to be an NFL caliber player, he should go in the top 15. He’s a big risk, but he could also be a big reward (no pun intended).”
Projection: First Round
Top Photo by Craig Strobeck