The 49ers were a part of the first trade of this year’s NFL draft, dealing the No. 15 pick to the Chargers for the 17th overall selection, a fourth-rounder this year (117) and a pick in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. Then they went and took the guy who nearly every mock draft had them taking, Oregon defensive tackle Arik Armstead. Armstead is big (6-7, 292), he’s got fairly long arms (33″) and big hands (10.5″). He also had just four sacks in three years with the Ducks.
The 49ers’ interest in Armstead was a poorly-kept secret, and the pick was “announced” in a tweet by Jed York:
Sacramento love #DraftDay
— Jed York (@JedYork) May 1, 2015
Here’s the “BOTTOM LINE” from NFL.com’s scouting report on Armstead:
Projection-based prospect with elite size and the traits to become a dominant run-stuffing defensive end in an odd front. Armstead has the explosiveness off the snap and in his jarring punch to gain early advantages and control offensive linemen. Armstead is a fast riser but is still very raw. He will need patience and coaching and must become a more effective pass rusher at some point.
There are a few things that jump out.
1. Trent Baalke the “draft ninja” outsmarted us once again. A lot of us thought that since so many people had Armstead going to the Niners, that Baalke would go in another direction. So Baalke said, “You expect me to go against the grain, so I’m going to go with the grain, which actually means I’m going against the grain because no one expected me to do this.”
2. Since seemingly half the mocks had Armstead going to the 49ers, I guess Baalke wasn’t telling the truth … Maybe they ARE transparent in some of the things they do.
3. Justin Smith is almost certainly retiring, but I guess we knew that anyway.
4. Armstead requires “coaching,” which means Jim Tomsula has a pet project. Maybe someone else can handle stuff like “game-planning” and “clock-management,” because Armstead could require a lot of work on his part.
5. Armstead also requires “patience,” which is the hallmark of a rebuilding team, NOT a reloading team. The 49ers are in a full-fledged rebuilding drive, which some of us already knew (um, ahem) but others didn’t want to face. We’ll see how patient Mr. “We hang Super Bowl banners” is with their new, rawer-than-steak-tartare addition from Sac-Town.
Also, the 49ers unveiled all-black uniforms today. Nothing like new merchandise to distract fans from a team that’s gearing up for a down year or two.