2015 NFL Scouting Combine Watch List: Defensive Linemen (Part 2)

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Nov 8, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive lineman Arik Armstead (9) between plays during the second half against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Oregon won 51-27. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Arik Armstead, Oregon

Oregon’s Arik Armstead will likely not have anything to prove at weigh-ins: listed at 6’7″ and 296 pounds, he is likely every inch and every pound of that, with the long arms to go with his enormous frame. The two-sport athlete – he was a forward for the Oregon basketball team as well – has size, frame, good feet, a good vertical, and great body control and athleticism but in terms of his football ability is incredibly raw and underdeveloped.

Still, with his size and athletic prowess, the Sacramento native may attract some attention, especially if he slips into the middle rounds, where he could be a steal for a team like the Raiders. Here are some things he can do to show his value for an NFL team.

Bench Press/Broad Jump: While Armstead is a large, athletic human being, he hasn’t been particularly productive as a college defensive linemen and there may be some questions about how strong he actually is. He can put those questions to bed if he comes and shows up to these two events. He has reminded many scouts of Margus Hunt, the 6’8″, 290 pound Estonian native out of SMU who shot up draft boards in 2013 in part because he was able to complete 35 reps in the bench despite his unbelievably long arms.

Hunt also managed a 121″ broad jump. If Armstead can show he’s more than just a big tall man, but also an explosive, strong big tall man, he’ll get drafted somewhere, and relatively high, simply for what he shows as an athlete.

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  • Interview: A player as raw as Armstead may have a sharp learning curve at the next level, and any team interested in him will want to sit him down and see how sharp that curve is. Some of this can be accomplished by interviewing the young man and finding out exactly how much he knows and understands about the game of football.

    Margus Hunt, who went 53rd overall to the Bengals in 2013, hasn’t spent much time on the field for Marvin Lewis simply because he has a lot to learn about football. A team that needs instant contributors, like the Raiders, don’t have time to develop someone for two or three seasons.

    4 Bag Drill: Armstead, despite his clear athletic ability, will also need to show that he has the fundamental movements of football – and his position – down. The four-bag drill is a fundamental drill that will show his footwork, quick change-of-direction ability, and body carriage and elevation.

    For a tall man like Armstead, it will be important for him to show that he can stay low throughout the drill, while still getting his feet up and over and around the bags. If he can execute this drill cleanly, it will be a good sign for teams considering taking a chance on him.

    Next: Player to Watch: Mario Edwards, Jr.