The New Orleans Saints made a safe and wise selection in nabbing Arkansas-Pine Bluff offensive tackle Terron Armstead with the 75th overall pick (third-round, No. 13) on Friday evening.
While the team could have easily gone for a pass-rusher, the team felt the value and need was greater for an offensive tackle in the third-round. Sean Payton had been talking up this possibility for pretty much the entirety of the offseason since his return from suspension.
Armstead was a player the Saints seemingly had their eyes on. The connections were great. The team needed an offensive tackle; the Saints love small school o-linemen.
The Saints love athletic tackles; that's precisely what defines Armstead.
The question becomes simply this: Does Armstead start immediately in 2013?
With Jason Smith—a player of similar athleticism and skill set—signed recently, plus Charles Brown and Marcel Jones, it is hard to say just who will start day one. And that seems to be a good thing.
All four will head to training camp, presumably, with the opportunity for the left tackle job. Add in Zach Strief, and the Saints have five players competing for two tackle spots.
Armstead, like Smith, gives the Saints their ideal package in terms of moving ability. If you’ve watched the Saints under Sean Payton, the team loves to move their tackles in space.
The swing screen, which has had so much success with Reggie Bush, Deuce McAllister, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles, is only possible if the swing tackle gets out and makes an effective block in space. Perhaps Brown can do that. We don’t have a clue with Jones.
Film review makes it quite clear, though, that Armstead can do that as well as any lineman in this draft. It is his strength, in fact.
What should be starting offensive tackle duo for New Orleans to begin 2013?
Armstead is probably the equal of any other Saints tackle prospect in his abilities in the run game. They are more than adequate. He does not shy away from contact, but to call him your typical mauler would be a misguided representation of what makes Armstead Armstead.
He is really a freakish athlete. Never mind what he may or may not have done in pre-draft. Pay attention to this simple scouting review, please.
Armstead is a player who has more than adequate strength and a frame that will allow him to put on some more weight as he gets in an NFL weight room.
If he can improve his leg strength without sacrificing his movement abilities, he ought to then be able to anchor well against bull-rushes, while maintaining great change of direction to work inside-out against opposing pass-rushers.
Armstead does a nice job of punching and mirroring his defender—a key in good pass protection. In other words, he is already close to NFL ready.
Can he start from day one?
Again, his ability to catch up to the speed of the game and the strength of his competition will be a determining factor. He has all the ability in the world. Worst-case scenario, he would seem in line to become the sixth offensive lineman when the team uses its jumbo packages. He’s the kind of athlete who would be a legitimate force if asked to catch a pass.
Watch out NFC South—the Saints may have just found themselves a do-it-all offensive lineman.