In his heart, Arik Armstead deemed the timing to be right, the tugging of a pay-for-play venture too rich to ignore.
So the 6-foot-8, 290-pound defensive end for Oregon by way of Pleasant Grove High School announced Wednesday he will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
Armstead drove home to Elk Grove on Wednesday and will begin to prepare for the NFL combine Feb. 17-23 in Indianapolis, where he will be scrutinized.
“I’m excited, and I’m ready for the challenge of the next level,” Armstead said. “I’ll miss Oregon, my teammates and those relationships, but I’m one step closer to a goal I’ve had since I started playing football. It’ll be a long evaluation process in the workouts, picking apart everything, and I’ll need to be prepared mentally and physically for the NFL combine sessions.”
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This season, Armstead had 46 tackles and a team-high six quarterback hurries. He made a career-best nine tackles and recovered a fumble in Oregon’s 42-20 loss to Ohio State on Monday night in the College Football Playoff national championship game.
While recently submitting paperwork to the NFL, Armstead received favorable draft evaluations.
“If I didn’t think I’d go in the (top rounds), I would come back to Oregon,” Armstead said.
NFLDraftScout.com projects Armstead to go in the first or second round in the draft, April 30-May 2 in Chicago. One general manager told NFL.com, “(Armstead) is extremely gifted. He has first-round talent, no doubt. He’s a 6-foot-8, 290-pound freak.”
Another GM said in an evaluation obtained by Yahoo Sports: “Can see him going very, very high (in the draft). Has everything you want out of a (defensive lineman): Height, length, power, pass-rush ability.”
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.