The New England Patriots signed former USC Trojans and CFL star (Toronto Argonauts) Armond Armstead early in the offseason, and the talented defensive tackle has the ability comparable to a second or third-round draft choice. Armstead is participating in the Patriots rookie minicamp, and he will presumably be a key contributor as a pass rusher on the interior. Although defensive tackle seems like the best fit for Armstead, it is possible the Patriots use him elsewhere (defensive end). But the Patriots do have plenty of depth at DE, and they have a bigger need for pass rushing help on the inside after receiving little-to-no pressure from their defensive tackles lasts season. With veteran Tommy Kelly in the fold as well, the Pats pass rush on the inside definitely looks to be in a better position going forward in 2013.
Armond Armstead spoke with reporters today about his truly incredible journey to the NFL, and there is little doubt that he belongs. But the question for Armstead will be heart issues, even as those seemed to be dispelled by his success in Toronto. Armstead addressed those concerns by saying (via CSNNE), ”My health is fine. I haven’t had any problems since what happened at SC. I’ve been healthy. I played in Canada, I didn’t miss any games or practices. I haven’t had any issues. I just went through physicals and am healthy.”
To be honest with you, I don’t have any concerns about Armstead’s health going forward either. After stating that he felt “humbled”, Armstead said, ”I feel like the experiences I’ve had throughout my life have definitely — I wouldn’t say, have given me a chip on my shoulder — but I don’t take anything for granted. I approach work every day and I appreciate everything I’m given a lot more. I’m not angry at anybody but I just want to show everyone what I can do.”
Now that’s a heart-warming quote, and one of my favorite things about this time of year is listening to what the rookies have to stay. Every person has a story to tell, and it’s incredible listening to the viewpoints and different journeys that each player took to get to this point. This is especially true with a player like Armond Armstead.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.