The NFL draft is a gamble. Every pick from the first man called to the stage by Roger Goodell on down to Mr. Irrelevant, every single pick is a role of the dice. With only five draft picks to aid in Reggie McKenzie’s rebuilding cause the Raiders can’t afford to take too many risks. Still, no matter how much research you do on a prospect there is nothing that guarantees they’ll pan out at the next level.
When it comes to gambles few are bigger than USC defensive lineman Armond Armstead. Yes, he’s a huge lineman with considerable athletic ability but he’s also got a huge medical concern hovering over his head.
The Sacramento native hit the USC campus as a big time recruit likely to be playing on Sundays in the future. After two years as a starting defensive end the Trojans had plans to move him inside to play tackle. That and all other football activities were put on hold when it was learned Armstead endured chest pains that would end his season before it began.
USC shutdown Armstead for the season choosing a medical redshirt was the best path. Armstead briefly flirted with the idea of transferring then decided to take the NFL plunge instead. Fearing possible fallout from his medial issues USC won’t allow Armstead to workout on their pro day either. Armstead held a private workout at Sacramento State that drew interest from plenty of NFL teams including the Raiders. If Oakland takes the risk it will be with one of their last picks or possibly the UFA route once the draft has concluded. Here is a quick take on Armstead.
Armond Armstead, DE, USC
Strengths: Agile and mobile for his size, considerably gifted athlete. Versatile, can play most every position along the D-line. Has a variety of ways to beat blockers including strength and speed.
Weaknesses: Can’t ignore the health concerns as neither USC nor Armstead have even divulged much about his condition. Lacks consistency game in and game out. Must refine tackling to become better asset against the run. Played wide at USC, must prove he can play in closer confines in the NFL.