Temple Football: Ryquell Armstead ran a blazing fast 4.45 40 at the combine

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After a stellar career at Temple, ex-Owls running back Ryquell Armstead ran a blazing fast 4.45 40 yard dash at the 2019 NFL Combine.

Ryquell Armstead has arrived.

That’s right, after largely being overlooked and undervalued thus far in the pre-draft process, even after a stellar career with the Temple Owls capped off by a 1,098 yard and 13 touchdown senior season, the 2019 NFL Draft Combine made it official: Doubt Ryquell Armstead at your own risk.

Initially dubbed a borderline draftable player who ‘may benefit from switching to fullback in the NFL’ (shame on you Walter Football), Armstead proved all of his doubters wrong at the combine; running the second fastest 40 yard dash at his position (4.45), the sixth-best bench (22), the fifth best cone drill (7.02), and the sixth best 20 yard shuffle (4.29) while measuring in at 5-foot-11, 220 pounds.

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Those numbers are impressive for any running back, especially one with a lot to prove going into the glorified ‘underwear Olympics’.

But what does it mean for Armstead’s draft stock? Potentially a lot.

With any doubts of having enough straight-line speed to be an effective closer at the NFL level now gone, scouts have to finally take Armstead seriously as a legitimate threat to become a lead back, as opposed to a short yardage specialist, special teams ace, or gasp, a full back.

Does his style of play fit every team in the NFL? No way, as some teams like to deploy their running backs as pass catchers out of the backfield, or rely on uber elusive swing plays that take defenses sideline-to-sideline, but for teams like the Seattle Seahawks, the Oakland Raiders, or his hometown Philadelphia Eagles, Armstead could be a very intriguing option in the second-to-fourth round of the NFL draft, as his effort, heart, and dare I say ‘Temple Tuff’-ness is second to none.

And really, for a player like Armstead, that chance is all he needs.

Much like in college, where he had to sit behind eventual New York Jets‘ UDFA Jahad Thomas, Armstead isn’t the kind of player who demands playing time, complains about being a part of a rotation, or worst of all, pouts when his number isn’t called. No, he’s the kind of player who will be limping on the sidelines, and still find a way to pass the century mark when his team needs him most.

To some, that conviction, or as it’s more commonly denoted ‘high character’ is considered one of the more vital intangibles that a prospect can possess, and will surely help to vault Armstead’s name up at least a few draft boards.

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Though his ceiling in the NFL may generously max out at Marshawn Lynch-esque (Lynch also ran a 4.45 at 5-11 215 coming out of Cal) and he may never sniff a Pro Bowl at the game’s highest level, whichever team ends up with Armstead on their roster come the start of OTAs will certainly be happy with the decision, as his tireless work ethic and all-out effort make him among the safest bets in the entire draft.