By Danny Cox
Name: Arik Armstead
Weight: 292 lbs.
Position: Defensive Tackle/Linebacker
Draft Pick: 17th overall in First Round
When the 2014 season ended, the San Francisco 49ers finished with an 8-8 record, and that was a disappointment to say the least. The offense didn’t seem to jive and there were times that the defense seemed to be missing a cog or two. Even though San Francisco’s defense ended up in the top five when it was all over, they were still giving up over 21 points per game.
One of those cogs was Arik Armstead.
Eric Mangini has been brought in as the new defensive coordinator, and he has a scheme that Armstead will fit perfectly into. It’s a 3-4 that mirrors the glory days of the George Seifert-Bill Parcells styles of defense. Seeing him still on the board by the 17th pick in the draft, the 49ers knew they had the missing puzzle piece.
Arik Armstead went to Pleasant Grove High School out in California, and he excelled on defense from the start. During his high school career, he recorded 126 tackles and 7.5 sacks to end up as a four-star recruit and the sixth best defensive end in his class.
He originally committed to the University of Southern California to play football, but he later changed his mind and headed to the University of Oregon to play for the Ducks.
As a true freshman at Oregon, Armstead played in all 13 games and made one start. During his mixed playing time, he ended the year with 26 total tackles and one half-sack. Since he played basketball in high school, Armstead went out for the Ducks in that sport as well and red-shirted his freshmen year.
Then, as a sophomore, Armstead played in all 13 games and recorded 15 tackles and one sack. He also went back to the basketball team in the spring, but quit shortly after so he could put all of his focus on football and moving forward with his possible future NFL career.
In 2014, Armstead had his best season in college. He played in all 13 games for the Ducks and finished up with 46 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. Not only were his stats impressive, but his quickness, size, and agility also stood out to so many NFL teams.
The San Francisco 49ers selected Armstead based on his skill set and the knowledge that he wants to play football the way the team wants him to play it. Armstead was listed as a linebacker in the draft, but the Niners will move him to left defensive tackle and he’ll likely move right into the starting spot.
Arik Armstead is going to shore up a defensive line for the 49ers that includes Glenn Dorsey and Darnell Dockett, which makes them one of the biggest and strongest in the league. This young man is not only big, but he’s also a force that is ahead of his time and a player that has been primed to be an NFL star.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.