INDIANAPOLIS -- It's been said that any play in which an offensive lineman has to run 40 yards in a straight line in probably a bad idea, but that doesn't stop the NFL's evaluators from studying just how well the big men run the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. This year, those NFL guys got a real treat, as Arkansas-Pine Bluff tackle Terron Armstead set a recent combine record with an unofficial 4.65 40-yard dash. His official time, announced later, was 4.71, but this still exceeded the previous mark since 2006 of 4.84, set by Allen Barbre in 2007.
Amstead just beat out Oklahoma's Lane Johnson, who ran an official 4.72, and whose stock has been rising steadily since he impressed everybody at the Senior Bowl. While Armstead is NFL Draft Scout's 10th-rated offensive tackle, Johnson is third behind Texas A&Ms Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher of Central Michigan. Fisher ran a 5.05 40 and Joeckel's was even higher, but don't expect that to affect their draft stock. More than with other positions, NFL teams will go back to the tape with offensive linemen for the real story.
Armstead does have an interesting story, though. The 6-foot-5, 306-pound small-school star, who played well enough at the East-West Shrine Game to perk up further interest, and earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl as an injury replacement.
"I just want to show them my athleticism, speed, quickness, be smooth, be fluid," Armstead said this week at the combine. "I have some pretty good technique, but I know I need some work on every aspect of my game."
Teams will want to know that he can block at the next level, coming out of the FCS as he is, but Armstead certainly got off to a good start-- literally.
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