The San Francisco 49ers have needs all over the field to address in the draft, but it’s quite likely that the first player they select will be Arik Armstead, the defensive lineman out of Oregon.
Both Peter King (the feisty Armstead seems almost too good a fit for GM Trent Baalke and coach Jim Tomsula, who I hear loves Armstead …) and Todd McShay (The Niners need to add depth and talent to their defensive line, regardless of whether Justin Smith decides to retire. Armstead has prototypical size and strength to be a 5-technique defensive end in a 3-4 scheme like the one San Francisco runs.) pick him as the Niners’ first pick with 18th overall. Armstead is somewhere between 6’7 and 6’8 and although he has only four sacks in his collegiate career, he has the speed and size to fit in very well with what the Niners love to do in their defensive line, playing the 3-4 scheme, which won’t change next season.
It’s worth mentioning that Armstead played some basketball when in Eugene but decided to focus just on football during his Junior season. Playing in San Francisco will mean not being too far away from home. Armstead grew up in Sacramento.
Mock draft “experts” make mistakes all the time, but Armstead isn’t your classic pass rusher that gets taken early, but is too good to fall down the ladder into the late first round picks. There’s mutual interest and a professional fit, which makes Armstead going to the 49ers a very reasonable prediction to make.
Armstead helped the Ducks win the Pac-12 last season (his only conference title while playing there), reaching the national championship game after beating Florida State, losing in the final to Ohio State.