The New England Patriots have been quick to snap up possible project players in former college stars, as they “won” the Jeff Demps “sweepstakes” late in the offseason and just signed Armond Armstead today, per ESPN Boston .
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The Patriots brought in Armstead for a workout a couple of weeks ago, and I was pleased at the move. Armstead has the talent equivalent to a second or high third round pick in this draft, as he recorded six sacks as a DT for the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL this past season after starring in college for the USC Trojans. The fallout from his days at USC was ugly, as he sued the team after apparently having a heart attack as a result of team doctors treating him with Toradol.
I have no idea what to think about that situation, but what I do know is that Armstead was a very valuable interior pass rusher at USC and showed that off with Toronto. It’s a stretch to start talking about former CFL star Cameron Wake‘s emergence in the NFL as one of the game’s best pass rushers for the Miami Dolphins, but Armstead could be the next big pull out of the CFL after putting himself back on the map.
A few other teams expressed interest in the 22-year-old, 6’5″, 300 pound DL before the Patriots reportedly signed him today. It will be interesting to see how he develops this offseason with the Patriots, and he will most likely make the roster due to the Pats need for a strong interior pass rusher. The pass rush is the biggest weakness on this team, and there needs to be a better source of pressure coming from the interior of the Patriots defensive line to alleviate the pressure accrued on the secondary during games. We saw the results of an effective pass rush in the AFC Championship game.
Armstead proved he was healthy and effective in the CFL, and we’ll see if he can make the jump in the NFL with some seasoning. This is a great signing, and it could pay huge dividends for the New England Patriots.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.