Terron Armstead is becoming his own buzz factory. (USAT Sports Images)Every year, there's at least one guy you've probably never heard of who gets the wires hopping with an incendiary performance at the scouting combine. This last year, it was Arkansas Pine Bluff offensive tackle Terron Armstead who stood out when he ran an official 4.71 40-yard dash -- a new record for any offensive lineman at the scouting combine -- at 6-foot-5 and 306 pounds. He also came in second to Oklahoma's Lane Johnson with a 1.64-second 10-yard split in his 40.
Armstead was not quite as fast in the agility drills, sticking in the middle of the pack in the 3-cone and short shuttle performances, but he benched 225 pounds 31 times, and in a height/weight/speed league, Armstead turned a lot of heads.
Moreover, the guy can play. After a solid week at the East-West Shrine Game, Armstead found himself at the Senior Bowl as an injury replacement for Tennessee's Dallas Thomas, and didn't look out of place among the guys from larger schools. He had interest from many of those larger schools coming out of high school in Illinois, but Arkansas-Pine Bluff was the only school that would give him the opportunity to compete in track and field, as well. (He's a champion-level shot-putter). He dominated his conference, but managed to look like a professional against tougher opponents than Langston University and Prairie View A&M.
And according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, Armstead did himself a few more favors at his Pro Day, which took place on Tuesday.
New San Diego Chargers offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris put Armstead through a workout that went on for about an hour. Armstead — who was among the top performers at his position in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump at the NFL Scouting Combine — only participated in the position drills at the pro day. Armstead looked outstanding in the workouts, and now has some private workouts scheduled, including one with the Dallas Cowboys. Armstead has a very good chance of being one of the top 60 players selected in the draft.
Based on his game tape, Armstead certainly looks the part. The one thing you want to see from a small-school NFL draft prospect is absolute and total domination when he's playing against kids with far less of a shot at the next level. Armstead can fill that order. He has good feet in space, a pretty smooth kick-slide, and is impressively physical at the point of attack and when asked to block at the second level. More often than you'd generally see on big-school tape, Armstead will just rag-doll defensive linemen around.
It's hard to say how that will transfer to the NFL, but there's no question that Terron Armstead has put himself squarely in the NFL's sights. A couple months ago, he was a third-round prospect at best, and now, he's the belle of the ball. Amazing what a little exposure can do...