5th year veteran who has played in 62 games, with 16 starts in 2019. Career sack total of 19, 10 of which coming in 2019. Has missed 18 games in his career due to surgery on broken hand (10 missed in 2017) and 8 games missed due to a torn shoulder labrum in 2016. In 2019, played his highest number of snaps during the regular season with 779, which accounted for 76% of the defense’s snaps. After the season ending broken hand in 2017, Armstead has been drastically trending up in snaps, tackles, TFL, QB hits, and in a contract year, Armstead posted his first double-digit sack season in 2019.
Good height and weight to match the versatility he displays across the LOS. Very good arm length and hand size as well. Very good AA and Mental Processing to play 1-9 techniques and demonstrate the AA to win in all facets of a DL. Shows good functional play strength to win at the POA with leverage and one arm jabs and good UOH into the OL chest to work outside or back inside from the wide 9 or 7-tech position. From inside techniques 1-3, uses good, active UOH to win at the POA, and AA to get skinny, flip hips and give the OL a small target to latch onto. Shows good UOH attacking outside shoulder of the Center on 1-on-1’s, ripping through the block, and propelling himself towards the QB. In Stunts, he shows good ability to bend around the EDGE from the 3-tech and take a good angle to the QB.
In the run game, does a good job neutralizing LOS in all techniques. Does his best work as a 3-tech in run and pass, and plays with a much higher motor. Displays the quickness and strength to win on either side of the Guard in 1-on-1’s and neutralizing double teams giving the LB’s the ability to run free.
Adequate Get-off; often times his teammate on the opposite side of the LOS is 2-3 yards deep before he’s off the LOS. Needs to display his athleticism and explosiveness on a more consistent basis. From the 7 and wide 9 tech, his pad level becomes an issue off the snap. Tends to stand straight up and attempt to lower himself and explode into the OT, but that gives the Tackle the opportunity to initiate contact and impede Armstead’s progress. Lacks a good pass rush plan; tries to win with a strong initial blow and a blow-by. Pass rush plan lacks nuance in the 7 and wide-9. Poor angles, and a lack of PR moves make it difficult to get consistent pressure.
In the run game, he tends to lose his backside contain on stretch plays to the opposite side. Gets caught up in the bodies and gives the ball carrier the opportunity to cut-back and has an open lane. From an outside 7 and 9 technique, the poor angles I mentioned in the PR plan also affect his ability to consistently set a hard EDGE in the run game. Displays adequate block shed in 1-on-1’s on the EDGE against OT and blocking TE’s. Tends to get hung up hand fighting, and doesn’t allow himself to play with the length and leverage, that, at times, make it look so easy for him to use effectively. Pad level and aggression become an issue on the goal line; tends to get blown off the LOS and completely get washed out of the play.
A lot of what Armstead did this season was good. He struggled from outside the Tackle, but with that talent he possesses, and the talent on the rest of the SF defensive line, you couldn’t keep him off the field. His value as a 4-3 DE hurts him in a big way. He lacks the nuance to play the position as a high-priced FA and on tape, just looks like a big athlete getting by on his strength and athleticism. Teams will have to heavily consider if playing him at a 3 and 5 technique making so much money is truly worth it. In my previous report, Jordan Jenkins is a reason why you would pass up developing a rookie and sign a low-priced EDGE rusher. In Armstead’s case, things get a little tricky when that number begins to climb. He made $9M in the final year of his rookie deal and is projected to make somewhere around $15M-$17M on his next deal, which is more than his career earnings up until this point. All it takes is one team to fall in love with what he does, and for some reason, this is where the Florida teams always seem to come out of the woodwork. The Dolphins and Bucs are 1 and 4 respectively in cap space, they have a need, and the Bucs are shedding some serious cap space in just their DL/EDGE rushing department alone losing Suh, JPP, and Shaq Barrett. For Miami, they have the most cap space in the league, 12 draft picks with 3 in the first round and 6 in the top 100, and a defensive minded HC. If they think he’s worth it, paired with what they could do in the draft, Armstead could be part of a massive and quick turnaround in Miami.