SANTA CLARA –- The 49ers’ first-round draft pick did not put up gaudy numbers in his three seasons as a defensive lineman at Oregon.
But Arik Armstead, whom the 49ers selected Thursday with the No. 17 overall draft pick, said he did everything asked of him and even played hurt during his junior season before declaring for the NFL draft.
“My role was to be disruptive, take on blockers, free up guys at times,” Armstead said Thursday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.
“My role was to do whatever my coaches asked of me. I played my position well. I felt like I did what my coaches asked of me. I put my health on the line, playing for them injured. I did whatever they asked me to do on the football field.”
Armstead, a Sacramento native who attended Pleasant Grove High School, recorded just four sacks in his three college seasons. But he said he believes he will not be just a two-down defensive lineman with the 49ers.
[MAIOCCO: 49ers select Arik Armstead with No. 17 overall pick]
“I think I’m definitely a nickel pass rusher, rushing inside over guards and centers,” Armstead said. “I did that at Oregon in our nickel packages. I have the athleticism and length to do that, and I’m looking forward to doing that more and getting after the quarterback more.”
Armstead (6-foot-7 1/8 inches, 292 pounds) was seen as one of the more physically impressive players in the draft. One NFL scout told CSNBayArea.com he must add bulk to his frame to be successful in the NFL.
But Armstead, who stopped playing basketball at Oregon last season to concentrate on football, disagrees with the assessment that he is “raw.”
“No, I don’t think I’m raw,” Armstead said. “I think if you watch film of me, you’ll see a technical, sound player. I think I have a lot of room to grow and a lot of things to improve on. I’m looking forward to doing that with the coaching staff there.”
Armstead joins a group of defensive linemen that coach Jim Tomsula recently called the deepest group he has seen with the 49ers in his eight seasons with the organization. It might be difficult for him to break into a rotation that consists of Darnell Dockett, Glenn Dorsey, Ian Williams, Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial and Tony Jerod-Eddie. The 49ers are bracing for Justin Smith to retire after 14 NFL seasons.
“We ran a similar scheme up at Oregon, a 3-4 scheme,” Armstead said. “I think my skill set in the 3-4 is perfect. I picked up the defense really easy when I learned it. And I feel like I have the skillset and athleticism to play the end position in their defense.”