The New Orleans Saints have an interesting positional battle coming up in OTA’s and training camp when rookie Terron Armstead takes on Charles Brown for the right to protect Drew Brees from the left tackle position.
Brown has been with the team for a few years now but has had to deal with injuries while sitting behind starter Jermon Bushrod. Armstead joined the Saints this offseason courtesy of the No. 75 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft and is set to leapfrog Brown for multiple reasons.
Head coach Sean Payton has stressed how uneasy he is about the left tackle position in New Orleans all offseason long, and Brown has obviously read the quotes. As he told Nakia Hogan of NOLA.com, he’s ready to compete and win the starting job:
”It’s definitely time for me to step up and prove myself and prove that I can protect Drew back there,” Brown said Wednesday night at Ben Grubb’s charity softball game at Zephyr Field. The Saints’ defense beat the offense 10-2 in the game.
“It’s going to be really exciting,” Brown said. “Right now I’m just trying to get out there and be the best I can and perfect every play and just stay out there.”
Unfortunately for Brown, his battles with injuries and the raw potential of Armstead are not good signs for his chances of getting and holding onto the starting job.
Payton and Co. grabbed Armstead in the draft for a reason. If the staff had the utmost confidence in Brown, Armstead wouldn’t have been selected. Heck, the front office wouldn’t have picked up one of the biggest busts in NFL history in former second overall pick Jason Smith either.
Armstead is the right choice at left tackle based on his athleticism. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he ran a 4.7-second 40-yard dash and recorded a 34 ½-feet vertical leap. This is the type of athleticism the Saints need at the position in order to keep Brees on his feet.
The fact of the matter is, Brees has a habit of making his offensive linemen look better than they really are thanks to his exceptionally quick reads and release. With Brees at the heal, Armstead can rely on his raw athleticism to shut down pass-rushers just longenough for Brees to get rid of the ball. This will also allow him to develop in live action rather than while sitting on the bench and only seeing reps in practice.
Brown isn’t a horrible backup by any means, but Armstead should have a tight grip on the starting left tackle job by the time the regular season rolls around.