For several weeks now, 49ers fans have been reading reports that Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead could be the team’s choice with its top draft pick on April 30, the 15th overall of the first round.
Armstead is an athletic, versatile 6-foot-7, 292-pounder who also played basketball his first two years at Oregon, and the 49ers definitely want to add playmakers to their front seven.
But this week, Chase Goodbread, who writes about college football for NFL.com, noted in a story that Armstead is a player with big pluses -- and possible big minuses.
Goodbread noted that one NFL scout, who chose to remain anonymous, had this to stay about Armstead to a New Jersey newspaper:
“Talented and big as hell. He’s the one guy I’ve had a hard time grading. You watch him and you see the talent of a first-round pick. But then he plays like a fourth-round pick.”
Goodbread said the criticism isn’t isolated. Other scouts also love Armstead’s raw talent but have questioned his production, particularly the fact he had just 2.5 sacks in 13 games this past season.
Still, Armstead’s size and talent may be hard for teams to pass on, and many see him as a player with a high ceiling.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock ranks Armstead as the No. 2 interior defensive lineman in the draft, only behind Leonard Williams of USC.