When the San Francisco 49ers traded down with the San Diego Chargers to select Oregon DE Arik Armstead with the 17th overall selection, I was not surprised.
Back in early February, I wrote an article on why 49ers GM Trent Baalke would covet the Oregon product while ranking him high on his big board and apparently that was the case. Do I agree with the selection? No. But that’s not to say that Armstead won’t be a solid 3-4 defensive-end for the 49ers top 10 defense.
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) May 1, 2015
A Sacramento native, Armstead will now have to show the coaching staff, teammates, and fans that he was worthy of such a high selection. And while he has a questionable work ethic and motor, it’s his potential that has the 49ers management intrigued. “He’s a tremendous athlete for his size,” Baalke told beat writers.
Shortly thereafter it was new 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula who gave mixed reviews on his first-round pick. “When you do watch the tape, you see a guy that tall, his hips are down and he does get push in the pocket in the nickel defense. Now is it as consistent as you want and things like that? ‘No!’ It’s not. But you see it.”
Baalke also alluded to the fact that Armstead will need to learn the ropes before being mixed in the defensive line rotation. “To really get the techniques down to play the position the way our guys have to play it, there’s a learning curve.”
A first-round pick with a hot and cold motor and learning curve seems like a depth player to me. And that’s ok as long as he can find his way into the team’s 4-2-5 nickel defense Week 1.
Armstead who just finished up his press conference with beat writers talked about ‘trust.’ “I like to earn everything I get,” Armstead said. “A lot of people have expectations for me and I got to earn their trust. Earn the trust of the organization, earn the trust of the fans, earn the trust of my teammates and coaching staff.”