Arik Armstead   DE/DT   Oregon

TALENT BOARD ROUND 2

STRENGTHS
Arik is a tall, strong, athletic defensive lineman with the potential to become an impact player for the team that selects him. He has excellent hand usage and is able to keep offensive linemen off his body so that he can put himself in position to shed blocks and make plays in the hole. He uses mature pass rushing techniques and is very quick into the backfield on passing downs. With his size and length, you would expect him to be able to knock down passes. He can play inside or outside in any style of defense and looks on film to have the change of direction ability along with the foot speed to run players down in the backfield and make a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage. Arik has excellent potential to dominate a game and has played a lot of snaps for his college team to show that but, has yet to break out and show that dominating talent. Maybe in the NFL he will do just that.

CONCERNS
Arik should be the talk of this draft, but he’s not for a number of reasons. The one reason I fear the most is that he just doesn’t seem to “want” to be the best or dominate because he just doesn’t play to his talents. He is in a 2-gap system and for some reason comes off the ball slow, stands too high and once engaged, instead of fighting to get deeper into the backfield, he wastes a lot of time and talent in “settling” and not disrupting. There is no reason for this other than that’s the way he is coached or he just doesn’t feel the need to fight any harder than he is fighting to get to the quarterback. His stance is poor and I have to think that’s the way he is coached because the entire defensive line unit stands the same way -- like frogs on a lily pad. There are other issues, but it comes down to this: I’m not convinced Arik is interested in becoming the dominant player his talents and size suggest he can become.

BOTTOM LINE
I get the feeling from watching Arik that he wants to be good, but not necessarily great. I want him to be great but I can’t “wish” him to live up to his potential. I can see in the film excellent hand usage and, at times, mature pass rushing techniques. I can see on film him handling and splitting a double team and then not making a play after he does it. I can see his confusion on what is happening as a play unfolds and trying to find the ball. I can see him being in position to shed and make a tackle and yet he doesn’t make the tackle. I can see that all he has to do if he can’t get to the quarterback because of a double team is put his hands up and knock the ball down, but he doesn’t do it. So what do we have? A player with dominating size, speed and athleticism who isn’t dominating but seems to give effort on every play -- just not enough effort to finish or make a play. That’s a player who I wonder if he will lay down once he gets a contract and has money or will all of a sudden work hard to become the dominating player his talents suggest he can become? I don’t care if he has played other sports at the same time as football. He doesn’t show the “need” to improve and he doesn’t seem to possess the physical stamina to go a full 16 game schedule at the next level. Nevertheless, I think Arik is playing in the wrong defense for his potential to improve. I think he is a pure strong side defensive end for a 4-3 defense. I don’t think he can show all of his talents in a 2-gap, 3-4 defense that he has played in college. I think he can become a power pass rusher with excellent ability to shut down the run playing over the right tackle and dealing with a tight end. That’s the system in which I believe he can become a complete defensive lineman. I really do, but what I see on film makes me overly cautious and it’s not because of a lack of effort. The cautiousness that I have is from his inability to finish the play.

Drew Boylhart
FEB/2015