Temple Football: Don’t sleep on Ryquell Armstead in the 2019 NFL Draft

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

After leaving it all on the field for the Temple Owls in 2018, more scouts and draft experts need to appreciate Ryquell Armstead’s NFL potential.

While putting together a seven-round Senior Bowl-only mock draft for the Philadelphia Eagles, I was very excited to add my favorite Temple football player maybe of all time, Ryquell Armstead, to replace Jay Ajayi as the Birds new lead back.

To me, it made perfect sense.

Sure, Armstead is a bit limited in his skill set, as he’s far from an effective weapon in the passing game, either as a receiver, or as a pass blocker, but to my eyes his power, effort, and aggression screamed a Day 2 prospect all day, every day.

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Boy was I wrong.

I initially began my mock draft with a game of Fanspeak’s On The Clock interactive draft, an amazing way to waste an afternoon and get an idea of where various draft experts believe players will ultimately land.

At first things fell about where I assumed they would, with Cody Ford sitting there at 25, and Nasir Adderley sitting there with the Baltimore Ravens pick in the second round, but when I went to select Armstead with the Eagles second-round pick, 57th overall, I was taken aback to find the Temple bell cow ranked the 226th overall prospect on the board.

In 2017, the 226th overall pick was David Williams; a seventh-round pick out of Arkansas who didn’t even make the Denver Bronco‘s 53-man roster coming out of training camp.

From there I looked around online even further and found a similar consensus; Armstead is a late Day 3 prospect if he’s drafted at all.

Some, like Walter Sports, even suggested that Armstead’s best NFL position may actually be at fullback, a role he was never asked to play in college.

I’m sorry, but that’s crazy.

Playing behind a pretty average offensive line for an American Athletic Conference team, Armstead rushed for 1,098 and 13 touchdowns on 210 rushing attempts, good for a more than solid 5.2 yards per carry average. This made Armstead the first Temple rusher to pass the century mark since Jahad Thomas accomplished the feat in 2015.

Sure, Thomas wasn’t a high draft pick either, and he largely proved scouts right by failing to log single snap in the NFL and presently spends his time playing for the San Diego Fleet in the Alliance of American Football, but Armstead is different.

Armstead is a true blue power back who logged 27 carries for 142 yards in a 52-40 loss to UCF while limping around on the sideline. He could barely walk, and yet matched his season average and recorded his third-most rushing yards of the season against the then-12th ranked team in the nation.

That is the personification of Temple Tuff if you ask me.

Now granted, things could change one way or the other depending on how things shake out at the 2019 NFL Draft Combine, as Armstead could blow scouts away with a monster lifting performance, huge hops, or a faster than expected 40 yard dash, but at the same time, things could break the other way as well. If Armstead runs a 4.7, then yeah, maybe Walter Sports is right, his only route to an NFL roster may be as a fullback.

Next. Senior Bowl only 7-Round 2019 mock draft. dark

These next few months are going to be huge for Ryquell Armstead’s future, and if he can rise to the occasion like he did oh so many times in the Temple Owls’ backfield in 2018, he could become the school’s next great success story.