Terron Armstead was asked what he meant by putting on “that black and gold again.”
It dawned on him: Now that the New Orleans Saints drafted him, he can wear the same colors he has the past four years at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
“The Saints have always been one of the teams I believe I can fit right in with,” Armstead told NewOrleansSaints.com. “I’m so excited right now, I really can’t explain my feelings. I’m so anxious to get down to New Orleans and so ready to put on that black and gold again.”
The Saints selected the left tackle 75th overall, or 13th in the third round, of the NFL Draft on Friday. Armstead became the first player from an Arkansas school this year and first Golden Lion since Courtney Van Buren in 2003 to be drafted.
The former accomplishment can be a selling point for UAPB coach Monte Coleman in recruiting.
“I think it’s going to help us out,” he said after his team’s Black and Gold Game on Saturday. “It’s definitely something we can put on our letterheads. We can definitely put it up in our field house, saying we had someone go in the third round. The recruits that are coming in the future see that we’re putting guys in the National Football League, and I look for others, Bill (Ross), Jarvis (Webb) and Brandon (Thurmond) to sign as free agents if they’re not drafted today.”
Armstead is the only Golden Lion drafted this year.
Coleman told The Commercial a week ago he thought Armstead would be drafted in the first round. No UAPB player has ever been picked higher than in the third round, where Van Buren was selected.
“We thought he had moved up, from conversations with other teams,” Coleman said. “But third round, 75th pick, that’s outstanding, great for our program, great for UAPB Nation. I’m really proud.”
Saints coach Sean Payton, in a team transcript, said the team had done plenty of research on Armstead at the East-West Shrine Game and that he played well to his level of competition. Armstead also competed in the Senior Bowl.
Payton stopped short of saying in the transcript if Armstead could start right away at left tackle, but he sees him working at that position.
“I think that it varies with these rookies,” Payton said, asked about protecting Drew Brees’ blind side as a starter right away. “Some seem to be ready to go and transition very quickly. And then some it takes more time. It just depends on the individual, when he comes in here and how he picks things up.
“… To say that he’s going to come in right away at that position and be a starter, I just know that he’s going to be able to come in here and compete for that opportunity, but I think there are some players that are going to do the same thing. So, we’ve been pretty disciplined and had good fortune at finding good offensive linemen at the right spot in the draft. Hopefully this is a case of that.”
Armstead told NewOrleansSaints.com the open competition at left tackle is “definitely music to my ears.”
“I’m a serious competitor, real serious,” Armstead said. “I’m going to come in and I’m looking to fight for the job day one.”
Armstead already has proven his worth in the draft, being drafted higher than his late-round projection when last season began, according to his agent Dave Butz. Armstead earned All-SWAC accolades and played through the 2012 season with an injured AC joint in his left shoulder, which he said has since healed.
“I never doubted, I never doubted myself,” Armstead told NewOrleansSaints.com. “I saw myself going big out of high school and when I didn’t I kind of questioned it for a minute, but I kept fighting trying to get better as a player, learn more about the game, and I never doubted myself.”