Going from Year 1 to Year 2 can make an enormous difference in a player's game, and 49ers' 2015 first-round pick Arik Armstead believes that's applicable to him this season.
"I study a lot," Armstead told KNBR on Thursday. "I kind of learned that in college, to be successful you have to study football, you have to study teams, study guys individually.
"I've been studying a lot this offseason preparing for the season. I think I know it's going to pay off."
Armstead after being selected with the 17th overall pick out of Oregon in 2015 played in all 16 games as a rookie, but started none.
He piled up 19 total tackles, and recorded two sacks - one on Carson Palmer in Week 3 and one on Johnny Manziel in Week 13.
Since then, the 49ers have invested in two more defensive lineman, including former Ducks defensive line mate and top-10 pick DeForest Buckner.
"I'm having a lot of fun with it," Armstead said of teaming up with Buckner again. "It's crazy how things work out. Probably looking back, never would've thought it would've happened this way, but it did. We're very fortunate to have this deep of a defensive line. And a front seven as a whole. It's going to be fun, exciting. I look forward to playing with all these guys."
As San Francisco prepares to face other teams in the exhibition, starting this weekend with the Houston Texans, Armstead delved into his mentality as a player.
"I think you have to ragdoll guys every time, every play really," said the 6-foot-7, 292-pounder. "You got to have that mindset that you're not going to be blocked when you step onto the field. Any time you step onto the field."
Armstead, now more seasoned but still soft spoken, also touched on the notion of flipping the switch mentally on game day.
"You can't really be nice on the football field," he said. "I don't know, it's just the way I am. I have a calm demeanor. But when I step on the football field - I'm still calm - but I'm violent. I play physical.
"I think you have to have that mindset that you're here for a reason. I've had that since I got here. Just stepping out on the practice field for the first time and having the mindset of trying to dominate and do the things I could. Of course I learned and I got better throughout the process, but that confidence has to always be there or else you can't be successful.
Armstead, along with Buckner and Quinton Dial, project to form the 49ers' starting defensive line in the team's base 3-4 defense.
The 49ers open the 2016-17 NFL season at Levi's Stadium on Monday night, September 12 against the Los Angeles Rams, which could be the first pro start of former Pac-12 rival Jared Goff.