Armond Armstead was an afterthought this past season, mostly because he did not play a single snap for the New England Patriots. However, the young defensive tackle should still remain in Nick Caserio‘s plans for 2014. In fact, if everything goes right, Armstead could possibly be counted on as a starter in 2014.
There have been some legitimate concerns surrounding Armstead’s health. That has been because the rookie defensive tackle underwent surgery to treat an infection in an unspecified area of his body, causing him to miss the 2013 season. Before that, Armstead had suffered a heart attack in 2011, which was the main reason why he went undrafted.
However, there have been bright spots when Armstead has been on the field. First off, he is an imposing 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, possessing the size that Matt Patricia likes in his defensive tackles. And secondly, he had six sacks in his 2012 season in the Canadian Football League. Production and size made Armstead an appealing prospect.
Obviously, there is a risk-reward factor when it comes to Armstead. He has excellent size and was good in the CFL, but has had some major health concerns over two of the last three years. Yet, Armstead will only be 24 in August, and is signed for a relatively cheap $495,000 in 2014. There is not that much risk involved here.
And the reward can be great. Armstead certainly has the body type and pass rushing ability to be a starting defensive tackle for the Patriots. He can be a much younger (and hopefully healthier) version of what Caserio wanted Tommy Kelly to be. If so, defensive tackle does not become a primary need for the Patriots.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.