During the NFL Scouting Combine, there's usually at least one person that puts up eye-popping numbers, especially when it comes to the 40-yard dash. You never expect a great number to come from an offensive lineman.
Terron Armstead, the tackle out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, had a combine that didn't exactly look like one you would expect out of an offensive lineman. He had a 34.5-inch vertical jump, second in the combine for linemen, and a 9'4" broad jump, which placed fourth.
Oh, and he had a 4.71 in the 40-yard dash; the original unofficial time was even faster at 4.65. Only Lane Johnson came even close among other linemen, running a 4.72.
This means that the 6'5", 306-pound athletic freak was faster than the majority of quarterbacks who ran in the draft, Manti Te'o and Stepfan Taylor, a running back.
Sure, everyone has already given Armstead his 15 minutes of fame after his time was posted, but who exactly is Terron Armstead? More importantly, who is Armstead the football player, the man behind the speed?
Armstead's speed comes from his background in track and field. In fact, that's why he joined the Southwestern Athletic Conference college—coach Monte Coleman allowed him to be a two-sport star there, something no other coach would permit.
In four years at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Armstead was a three-time All-SWAC tackle, and on top of that he was an eight-time champ in track and field, excelling particularly in the shot put.
Suffice it to say, Armstead is a natural athlete, and he's far from your typical lineman. Will his athleticism translate to the NFL in his position? A big, fast guy is all well and good, but he does have to know how to play.
He was the starting left tackle throughout his senior year and played in 37 career games. He played lesser competition than most top linemen in the draft. Eric Fisher faced mediocre competition with Central Michigan, but at least he faced FBS teams, unlike Armstead.
His first big break came in the East-West Shrine Game, where he showed that he can handle top competition at the next level, and that the level of competition he faced should not be an issue.
He had 31 bench press reps in the combine, which was about average for linemen. Beyond that, he can get bull-rushed inside, something he's susceptible to.
The good news for him is that he would primarily be concerned with pass-rushers on the outside, and that plays into his strength, as his speed and reflexes show that he can keep up with NFL players.
Even better for him is that he can make plays downfield. Clearly, he's fast enough that he can keep up with a running back if needed.
NFLDraftScout.com compares him to Joe Staley, who has the intensity to be a top tackle in the league despite not playing against top teams. While a stretch, he has shown the tools to make that a nice ceiling to reach for.
Armstead was originally projected to be a third-round draft pick, late before the East-West Shrine Game and early after. After a great combine, he has shot into the second round.
He's now at the point where he can't gain on his fellow tackles. Luke Joeckel is the No. 1 guy, and Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson and D.J. Fluker will all likely go in the first round.
He can, however, continue to make waves with a great pro day and solidify himself as the best Day 2 lineman available. If he falls to round three, then I would be shocked if he slid past the first five teams.
At the very least, his floor is the Raiders with pick 66, even with Al Davis gone, and he could go as high as the 40s with a great pro day.
It's amazing what a 40-yard dash time can do for a prospect.
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