Mike Mayock spoke the NFL media in a conference call on Thursday discussing the NFL Draft post-Combine and Pro Days. When asked about the San Francisco 49ers draft 15th overall in the first round, he said selecting Oregon DL Arik Armstead would make the most sense.
“To me the logical pick for them at 15, they sit there, they need front three help and I think Arik Armstead, the kid from Oregon is the prototype; and he’s 6’7″, 290 [pounds],” Mayock said in the conference call. “He just turned 21 years old. His best football is ahead of him, and I think he’s a perfect fit for what they need. Justin Smith, if he does stay retired, even if he doesn’t, what a great prototype for Arik Armstead to have in the room. Darnell Dockett is 33 and coming off a [torn] ACL.”
General manager Trent Baalke said that Justin Smith’s retirement decision to stay or not won’t affect his plan for the 2015 NFL Draft. The 49ers also terminated Ray McDonald’s contract prior to the 2014 season ending after a repeated pattern of trouble off the field.
What makes Armstead the logical choice is his huge frame and ability to be explosive off the line of scrimmage. The 49ers drafted DE Tank Carradine and NT Quinton Dial in 2013, but there is a lack of instant impact on the defensive line. Carradine missed the entire 2013 season but showed promise in the second half of last year after initially being benched. Dial appeared to look like a solid run stopper in his time at nose tackle.
The 49ers also have interior linemen in Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey, where both have spent time on the injured reserve and the latter missed the entire 2014 season. Last on the depth chart is Tony Jerod-Eddie, where he was a rotational lineman that was plugged anywhere on defense.
Armstead would bring a fresh look to the defensive line and could be a great complement to Carradine. He is still a raw player, but new head coach Jim Tomsula has a great history when working with defensive lineman, his previous position.
He is projected to be a first round pick, but could be available at No. 15 overall. If the 49ers want to secure him without worry, they could give up a pick or two to move up a few slots and select him.
-Mayock projects the 49ers to take an inside linebacker in the second round with their 46th overall pick. A few names that he mentioned included Paul Dawson, Eric Kendricks, Stephone Anthony, Denzel Perryman and Benardrick McKinney.