The San Francisco 49ers former first-round pick, the product of the Oregon Ducks is having himself a career year. He’s been listed as a DE, but also plays inside. This year the 49ers have lined him up next to DeForest Buckner and he’s feasted against single blockers as Buckner commands a regular double team. He provides something Matt Patricia loves – versatility.
Arik Armstead was selected with the 17th pick in the 2015 NFL draft. He’s a bit of a late bloomer but has indeed found his way in his fifth-year of work in 2019, leading the second-ranked defense in the country. Armstead totaled 9 sacks throughout his first four NFL seasons combined. In 2019, with two games remaining, he’s notched a team-leading 11 sacks. Yes, one more than even Nick Bosa.
He has the benefit of playing in a defense littered with talent. The San Francisco 49ers had a plan; GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan expressed their desire to build what they call a Hall of Fame defensive front to form around. Well, Nick Bosa isn’t just going to win defensive rookie of the year, he may win defensive player of the year.
The 49ers spent a plethora of high picks on this defensive line; it didn’t just happen overnight. The team has invested a lot in this defense. Armstead in ’15, DeForest Buckner in 2016 with the 7th pick overall. DE Soloman Thomas with the 3rd overall pick in 2017, and Nick Bosa 2nd overall in 2019. As you can see, it’s been a string of defensive linemen taken early in drafts that’s backboned this defense.
It was amazing to think just a few months ago, San Francisco was at the podium announcing their 2nd overall choice, and here they are 11-3 so far in 2019 with a chance to secure the first overall seed in the NFC with a pair of wins. They control their own destiny.
The 49ers spend a significant amount of money in free agency on pass-rusher Dee Ford, perhaps they are not going to be willing to pay their 6’7 leading sack getter the money he will command on the open market.
Arik Armstead is a player just entering his prime at 26-years old that the Detroit Lions need to consider in free agency.
For what it’s worth, Arik would be my pick. While there are more prominent names available, Armstead’s size makes for a very unique player on the DL.