The top prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine often receive most of the attention in the lead up to the workouts in Indianapolis, but the biggest winners of the events are always the prospects no one’s ever heard of.
Meet Terron Armstead.
The offensive tackle from Arkansas-Pine Bluff made waves on the first day of workouts when he ran the 40-yard dash and recorded a shocking unofficial time of 4.65 seconds. His official time was changed to 4.71. Full results from the combine are available via NFL.com.
Even with the added sixth-hundredths of a second, Armstead still passed the “eye-test” with flying colors. His performance will start a honeymoon period in which NFL scouts will be gushing over his athleticism.
Currently, CBS Sports projects the small-school product to be taken in the third round of the upcoming draft. If he is able to keep momentum behind him until April 25, moving up into the second round is a real possibility.
While Armstead will almost never have to sprint for 40 yards as an offensive lineman, his performance shows something extremely important: huge upside.
At Arkansas Pine-Bluff, he wasn’t protecting his quarterback against Bjoern Werner and Damontre Moore. His lack of polish, experience and time in the spotlight is cause for concern.
But with the kind of explosiveness he displayed during Saturday’s workouts, teams will be willing to overlook all that.
At 6’5” and 304 pounds, Armstead is an ideal candidate to shift over to guard. This is a transition many college blockers have made successfully when jumping to the pros, and there may be no interior lineman in the NFL who can pull with more speed than Armstead.
Refining his technique and adjusting to the nuances of an offense certainly provide challenges, and it will take time for him to adjust to such a massive leap in the level of competition he is accustomed to facing.
During the transition period, Armstead would be an ideal player for punt and kick return coverage. What special teams coordinator wouldn’t want an offensive lineman with wide receiver speed?
Even if the team that drafts him doesn’t want to risk putting him on special teams, Armstead’s speed opens up potential for gadget plays on field goals or in the red zone.
His ridiculous 40-yard dash time shows that he has the type of unique athleticism to immediately fire up a coaching staff’s imagination, and he has the potential to turn into a productive every-down player.
For the record, the Oakland Raiders do not have a second-round pick and would have to trade up to take him that early in the draft.