Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead is the “logical pick” for the 49ers with the No. 15 overall selection, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said Thursday.
Mayock called Armstead the “prototype” 49ers defensive lineman at 6 foot 7, 290 pounds.
But that’s not necessarily how former 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio would see it. Last year, Fangio said it would be difficult for former British Olympian Lawrence Okoye to make the conversion to an NFL defensive lineman because of his height.
“There aren’t many 6-5 or taller guys that are good defensive players,” Fangio said. “There’s some. But, there’s not a lot. They’ve got to be able to bend their knees and play low, and use their height to their advantage when they can. But they’ve got to bend their knees and get them down to 6-2 when they need to.”
Fangio is now running the Chicago Bears’ defense. Eric Mangini has taken over as 49ers defensive coordinator.
The 49ers will continue to play a three-man defensive line in base situations. They list all their defensive linemen as tackles. Their ends are really the outside linebackers, who move to the edge to rush the passer in nickel situations.
The 49ers have not looked for their defensive linemen to post big sack numbers. They want their defensive linemen to hold the point against the run, and get some push up the middle in passing situations to open things up for the outside rushers.
Mayock said he believes Armstread is exactly what the 49ers need. After ending his basketball career to focus on football last season, Armstead responded with just 2.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
“His best football is ahead of him,” Mayock said, “and I think he's a perfect fit for what they need. Justin Smith, if he does stay retired, even if he doesn't, what a great prototype for Arik Armstead to have in the room.”
One NFL scout on Friday told CSNBayArea.com that he believes Armstead is similar to Calais Campbell, the Arizona Cardinals’ 6-8 defensive lineman who has averaged more than seven sacks over the past six seasons and was named to the Pro Bowl last season.
“He (Armstead) needs some more bulk, but he’s definitely a 3-4 end,” the scout said.