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Thursday, February 28, 2013
Where Armstead fits on the line

By Mike Reiss

After dissecting the Patriots' interior defensive line personnel this morning, commenter "boston4Patriots" asked the question, "What about Armond Armstead?"

Armstead wasn't included in the piece, mainly because his specific fit in the defense is a bit of an unknown at this point. He could be an end at times. He could be a tackle at times.

One thing seems certain when assessing Armstead's skill set is that he should, at the least, be a factor as an interior pass rusher in sub packages (which the Patriots played 57 percent of the time in 2012). That's the role the Patriots had in mind for free-agent Jonathan Fanene, but that didn't work out in 2012.

This morning's post was specific to the Patriots' bigger defensive linemen, those in the plus-300 pound range who play inside on early downs because of their solid play against the run; Vince Wilfork (6-2, 325), Kyle Love (6-1, 315) and Brandon Deaderick (6-4, 305) topped the depth chart at that spot in 2012.

Armstead, whom Argonauts general Jim Barker said was 280 pounds, appears to have a different physical makeup than those players.

"He's obviously not Vince Wilfork, that’s not what he does, he’s not a two-gap player," Barker told ESPNBoston.com earlier this month.

So when looking at Armstead's fit along the line at this time, the view here is that his presence wouldn't stop the Patriots from drafting a big defensive lineman (e.g. Alabama's Jesse Williams) if that player proved to be the best value.

Armstead fits in a little bit of a different category from this view.