Although Bill Belichick is not known for delivering interesting nuggets, the New England Patriots head coach provided us with two valuable nuggets on rookies and what they will be doing in rookie mini-camp. At today’s press conference, Belichick stated that the Patriots would start with Southern Mississippi DE/OLB and Patriots second-round pick Jamie Collins at linebacker, and he also added that former CFL and USC Trojans star Armond Armstead will participate at the Patriots rookie minicamp.
Armstead was signed by the Patriots shortly after their postseason exit, and he figures to make an impact as a situational pass rusher on the interior behind newly-signed veteran DT Tommy Kelly (previously with the Oakland Raiders). Some have lauded Armstead as a first-round talent, and he should make an impact for the Patriots.
The Pats greatly needed some help with the interior pass rush, and they are in a good spot between both Kelly and Armstead. At least one of them will blossom (either Kelly will play more disciplined and continue to be a force as a pass rusher, or Armstead will make a splash as a solid interior pass rusher in the rotation), and you have to think that the Patriots are in a much better position at DT now than they were last season. I mean, the Patriots were getting absolutely no pressure from the inside, and only Vince Wilfork‘s ability to eat up blocks was helping the defensive ends.
The experience that Armstead will get by participating in rookie minicamp will undoubtedly be valuable, and it was an obvious decision for the Patriots to get him started early. They will need him to quickly grasp things, adjust to the pros and all that, because he is basically a rookie. He did play and star in the CFL, but we all know that the level of play in the NFL is something else entirely.
As for where Armstead fits, I say he is clearly best off as a 4-3 DT. But Bill Belichick said, “We’ll see how it goes.” Some believe Armstead could play at defensive end, but I fully expect him to be a DT. Not only does he fit better there, but there is also much more depth at DE than DT.
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