Third Round: 75th Pick
Running a 4.71 at 6'5", 306 lbs. is one way to get the NFL's attention, but Terron Armstead shows a lot more than rare foot speed on film. This big offensive tackle from a small school hung well with his big school peers at the combine and Senior Bowl, and he has the rare athleticism and and proportions that the NFL looks for in a left tackle. How early will Armstead put Pine Bluff on the NFL map?
Armstead moves so well that his size appears to be an optical illusion on film. He can pull like a guard, get in instant position outside the hashes to block for a screen pass and mirror speed rushers like a dance partner. There is a bit of a killer instinct, as Armstead will plant a pass-rusher who gets off balance or otherwise lets Armstead dictate the play.
With the agility, flexibility, and footwork to react to inside moves, Armstead is very hard to solve as a pass blocker. He moves in short steps to keep an excellent base, but can also shuffle outside quickly enough to steer a speed rush harmlessly upfield past the quarterback. Armstead is also an effective wall-off run blocker, and he processes and reacts to the action on the field very well.
Armstead is not going to be a power drive blocker in the run game, and he doesn't always play to the whistle. Defenders can be defeated by Armstead, but he will eventually let them go, and they sometimes make plays in pursuit or with hustle. Armstead can play with his upper body extended too far and lose balance and push as a run blocker. His mean streak as a pass blocker isn't always present on running plays. Armstead always plays a little too high at times, and can lose battles of leverage.
He isn't getting as much coverage as Ziggy Ansah or Margus Hunt, but Armstead is a freak in his own right. It's not just the 4.71 40 at 6'5" 306 (better than some tight end prospects). With 34" arms and a 34.5" vertical, a team wouldn't be insane to look at Armstead as a super-sized pass catcher. His also benched 225 pounds 31 times, which is outstanding when you factor in his arm length. Armstead has terrific feet to tie this impressive package together.
Armstead split time between the football and track team, and chose Arkansas-Pine Bluff over bigger programs that weren't going to let him play both sports. He is a tough player who gutted out an AC joint shoulder injury during his senior season, and Armstead also adjusted very well to a higher level of competition on the all-star game circuit.
At left tackle in a spread offense, Armstead was often left on an island against the opponent's best pass rusher, and he defended his island very well.
Armstead's movement skills as a pass-blocker are almost prototypical. He can cut off the outside speed rush, and bend back inside to neutralize any counter moves. He doesn't give ground in his kick slide, and Armstead usually extends his long arms to land the first punch in the confrontation.
He will put his man on the ground when he can land a knockout blow, and hold his ground against stouter pass rushers with good ankle flexion to absorb the bullrush. Stunts and twists don't faze him, as Armstead recognizes them quickly and has the footwork to adjust on the fly.
Good foot quickness helps Armstead steer his man as a run blocker and get the angle to wall off his opponent when the run is coming his way. Armstead doesn't sustain his blocks to the whistle, and defenders can shed his blocks with persistence. He will get overextended and lose his power and balance when trying to drive an opponent backward.
Armstead isn't a road grader, but he is reasonably effective in short yardage situations, and he is excellent at peeling off of blocks to get to the second level - although he doesn't always find a target to blot out.
Blocking in Space
Armstead has the largest effective range of influence of any offensive tackle in this class. He can sprint out wide to lead the way for a screen or pull down the line like a guard to lead the way for a run. Armstead's ability to get to the second level will be valued in zone blocking running games, and he is able to mirror pass rushers by himself on the edge protecting his quarterback's blind side.
With an aggressive and somewhat powerful punch, Armstead isn't afraid to extend his long arms and take the fight to the pass rusher. He seeks to get his hands on his opponent, and he can generate a good push, or stop their push with his functional strength—as long as he plays with leverage. Armstead's handfighting also prevents his opponent from landing their punch, or otherwise executing pass-rush moves that require them to get their hands on him.
Armstead has all of the requisite athleticism and awareness to recover when he is initially beaten. He also demonstrates this when he has to switch assignments as a pass blocker. His change of direction is instant and effective.
On the other hand, Armstead's motor doesn't always run hot, and he will lose battles because of waning effort. It's also hard to see how he will react when the excellent pass rushers of the NFL get him off balance or out of his comfort zone, because it happened so rarely in college.
Armstead isn't as raw as you might have been led to believe. He moves in short, but quick measured steps and maintains terrific balance and base as a pass blocker. His kick slide covers a lot of ground if needs to, but Armstead can also change direction efficiently, and he never seems to get in a bad spot while he is mirroring his opponent.
He is a natural knee bender, except as a drive blocker on running plays. Armstead's feet are also light and active, so they rarely go dead (at least initially) and leave him vulnerable to a quick counter move.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
Like last year's small school offensive line stud, Carolina's Amini Silatolu, Armstead was initially projected to move inside to guard by some, but the Combine and all-star performances dispelled the notion that he couldn't hang as a left tackle in the NFL. He'll need to get a little stronger in the lower body, but there's no reason that Armstead won't be tried as a left tackle until he proves that he can't handle it.