Philadelphia, PA – He affectionately drew the nickname "Terronnosaurus Rex," but Arkansas-Pine Bluff senior Terron Armstead more resembled a raptor at the NFL Combine last month.
Armstead basically flew down the runway while he clocked 4.71 seconds in the 40-yard dash - a new Combine record for offensive linemen.
Add in Armstead's other measurables at the Combine, including 31 reps with the 225-pound bench press and a broad jump of 9 feet, 4 inches, plus his performances at the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl, and he has been one of the fastest risers across NFL draft boards in the last two months.
The 6-5, 306-pound Armstead has gone from being considered a late-round pick on the final day of the April 25-27 draft to a second- or third-round selection on the second day.
Armstead turned heads with the record run at the Combine, but it was equally important for the Southwestern Athletic Conference product to have a 1.64- second time in the first 10-yard split because offensive linemen generally don't have to run any farther down the field on a play. His fast split ranked second to Oklahoma's Lane Johnson among O-linemen.
Considered to have a high ceiling, Armstead has worked hard to polish his game since Arkansas-Pine Bluff ended its season in December with a win in the SWAC Championship Game. The Illinois native, who is represented by agent David Butz Jr. of SportsStars, Inc., in New York, has worked with UAPB offensive line coach Damon Nivens and at the highly regarded Athletes' Performance training institute in Florida.
Armstead is still trying to close the gap on the level of competition he faced in college, but NFL.com has compared Armstead to Houston Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown and CBSSports.com likens him to Joe Staley of the San Francisco 49ers.
In Five-a-Side - In the FCS Huddle's monthly feature of "five questions, five answers" with an influential person in the FCS - Armstead discusses his world- wind year and the upcoming draft.
Let's kick off:
TSN: Can you talk about your performance at the East-West Shrine Game, then the Senior Bowl and then the NFL Combine, and just how it's changed the NFL's perspective of you?
TA: Well, I really just went into the all-star games with sort of a chip on my shoulder being from a small school. I had to go and answer the question of level of competition. That really was my main focus, just to show everyone that I would be able to compete at a high level against the bigger-school guys.
TSN: How do view the importance of the Senior Bowl, the East-West Shrine Game and the Combine to what you accomplished during your career at Pine Bluff?
TA: Those all-star games were more of a personal thing, my career at Pine Bluff was all team-oriented. We won a conference championship this (past) year, so that was by far the biggest accomplishment of my football career. But those all-star games were just a personal thing, an individual thing, just to show you can compete against a bunch of all-stars really.
TSN: Obviously, you've risen on the draft boards and are being projected for the second or third round. What does that mean to you?
TA: It means a lot to be in this situation, an opportunity to be looking to get drafted. It's all a blessing, a great thing, a great opportunity. Any college player would be aiming to be a first-round draft pick, so, of course, I'm aiming to go as high as I possibly can.
TSN: Coming from the FCS level, do you feel like you have to do more to attract the NFL's attention?
TA: Of course, you have to pop out on film, you have to separate yourself. There's a lot of great players in my conference, so there's good competition, good talent. But coming from a small school, you have to stick out like a sore thumb - that's what they call it.
TSN: Can you describe your style of play?
TA: I'm an agile offensive lineman, I like to move, get up to the second level. I understand angles, I like to get out in an open field on screens or sweeps or tosses, but I also can get down in the pile game. I like I call myself a well-balanced, well-rounded player.