The wait is finally over for Terron Armstead.
Armstead has become Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s first NFL Draft selection since 2003 when he was selected in the third round by the New Orleans Saints. Armstead’s pick was 75th overall in the 2013 draft and 13th in the round.
“Terron’s a great athlete and a very good player,” his agent Dave Butz of St. Louis said. “I thought the sky was the limit. But this was in the range where I think most people expected him to go.
“This is a guy that started the season with late-round grades, and with his God-given talent and hard work moved himself up to some of the higher rounds.”
Armstead was drafted on the second of the three-night event, held at Radio City Music Hall in New York. He was expected to celebrate his selection at his Cahokia, Ill., home with his twin 6-month-old daughters, Triniti and Tatiana.
Messages left for Armstead were not immediately returned.
His selection wasn’t much of a surprise after his performances in January’s East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl and February’s NFL Combine. He set a Combine record for the fastest 40-yard dash by an offensive lineman, clocking in at 4.71 seconds, which turned many more heads among NFL team representatives. (He had a quicker time of 4.63 while training in Pensacola, Fla.)
But the left tackle first established himself as a serious draft hopeful in his four years at UAPB, finally helping the Golden Lions win the SWAC championship as a senior.
Since the season ended, he had been training at the Athletes’ Performance Institute in Pensacola and working out at UAPB along with his fellow Golden Lion offensive lineman, Lyron McClenney.
Armstead visited with about 10 teams during the offseason, and he held on-campus private workouts for seven of them. San Diego Chargers offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris took Armstead through drills during UAPB’s Pro Day at Pine Bluff High on March 4.
Because of his travel and workout schedules, Armstead did not enroll in any classes this semester, standing 30 hours away from his bachelor’s degree.
As recently as last week, Armstead was ranked 49th overall and sixth among offensive linemen in NFLDraftScout.com’s list of available draft prospects. Six offensive linemen were drafted in the first round Thursday.
CBSSports.com predicted Armstead would be drafted 45th overall by the Chargers in its second-round mock draft Friday, but the Chargers traded the pick to the Arizona Cardinals, who selected Kevin Minter, an inside linebacker from LSU.
Asked how relieved he is to see Armstead drafted, Butz said it wasn’t as much about relief as it was the fact that the Saints are a good fit for him.
“Sometimes, guys can go in one spot in the draft and not be a perfect fit or a great opportunity,” said Butz, who also represents Pine Bluff native and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end David Johnson. “There’s an opportunity for him to compete this year, and certainly, at some point in the future, be a starter in the league.”
Armstead is just the second Football Championship Subdivision player drafted this year. Cornerback Robert Alford of Southeastern Louisiana was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons late in the second round.