The New Orleans Saints entered the 2014 draft with a big position need in mind. They needed some competition after center Brian De La Puente left for the Chicago Bears.
Grand Valley State center Matt Armstrong will be competing with former teammate, Tim Lelito, who was an undrafted acquisition from last year.
Matt Armstrong won several awards during his college years including the 2014 Rimington Award winner as the top NCAA Division II center. He was a two-sport athlete, participating in track and field in the shot put.
Armstrong was a top-tier offensive line prospect, but he was injured at the end of the year causing him to fall out of this year’s draft.
Armstrong, much like Lelito a year ago, faces some pretty long odds to make the team despite being the second center on the depth chart at the moment. The odds aren’t in his favor for a couple of reasons.
An injury history is not something that an offensive lineman wants to bring to his new team. Armstrong has suffered a concussion, torn the cartilage in his left knee, has had bone spurs removed from his ankle, not to mention a right shoulder injury that prevented him from lifting in the NFL combine.
He isn’t a particularly explosive lineman and tends to latch on more than drive or jolt defensive lineman out of the play. He will struggle to anchor against strong nose tackles and defensive tackles as well.
He is adequate sized but he faces a big jump to the pro level. He has good strength, is smart and aware on most plays, has good snap-and-step movement, and can combo block. He has experience at each position along the offensive line in his four years at GVSU that he can utilize as well.
Armstrong has to prove that he is versatile enough and smart enough to justify being a project player for the Saints. I can see him on the practice squad by the start of the season. If an injury derails him, his stint with the Saints may be over before it begins.