In the National Football League, three days is usually not enough time to judge a player’s talent level, but, then again, Terron Armstead has always been a quick mover.
The former University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff standout needed just three days of training camp practices to move up the New Orleans Saints’ depth chart at left tackle.
“First three days I worked with the threes; the last two days I’ve been with the twos,” Armstead said Wednesday referring to the Saints’ third- and second-string, respectively.
Armstead is competing at left tackle with Charles Brown, who is entering his fourth year with the Saints, and former No. 2 overall pick Jason Smith, who is entering his first season with New Orleans.
With knowledge of the system, Brown, a University of Southern California product whom the Saints took in the second round in 2010, has a leg up on Armstead and Smith, so it’s not too surprising that he held the top spot on the depth chart entering camp and has continued to hold it.
Smith, who was drafted in 2009 out of Baylor by the St. Louis Rams, began camp with the second-string only to be passed by Armstead after less than a week.
The 6’5” Armstead, whose 40-yard dash time of 4.71 seconds set an NFL Combine record for an offensive lineman, said he’s tipping the scales at about 315 pounds, which is about 10 pounds more than normal.
“It’s not putting on the weight that’s difficult, it’s keeping it on,” Armstead said. “I’m usually about 10 pounds lighter.
“It’s been a progression. (The Saints had said) they wouldn’t mind me bulking up some more.”
The Saints have been practicing less than a week, but Armstead and the team’s other rookies arrived for training camp on July 17 at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility in Metairie, La.
“We were grinding,” Armstead said of the rookies. “They had us up and going at 7:30 in the morning.
“They had us lifting weights and we went through a conditioning test twice in three days. Just a lot of conditioning. Basically, just working out like crazy.”
This past Thursday, the rookies were joined by the Saints’ veterans and training camp practices kicked off the following day.
“It’s been productive,” Armstead said of training camp. “Everyone is really excited to be here and just flying around the field.
“For me, its been about working on my technique and learning the new schemes.”
When asked about the difficulty of learning the schemes of head coach Sean Payton, Armstead said with a laugh, “He’s got a pretty unique mind.”
New Orleans begins the preseason with a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Aug. 9.
“I haven’t even thought about that too much,” Armstead said of the game.
He did admit, though, that the preseason is important for unproven players like himself.
“It’s everything,” Armstead said of the preseason. “It’s really all coaches can calculate you on.”
Armstead, a Cahokia, Ill., native, was pretty mum on his prospects of starting the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 8.
“I can’t really say right now,” Armstead said of his chances. “I’m just trying to work on improving every single day.”
That daily work is what has gotten Armstead up to the second-string and what will determine his place on the depth chart come Week One.
“The daily progression is the biggest thing,” Armstead said. “It’s very, very important to show that you are trying to get better each and every day.”