(Sports Network) - Playing under Arkansas-Pine Bluff offensive
line coach Damon Nivens was one of the better things to happen to offensive
tackle Terron Armstead on the way to the NFL.
"He's pretty critical about everything, so we work on technique quite a bit,"
Armstead said. "I work on every part of it."
The skills of players from the FCS level face considerable scrutiny from NFL
teams, and all of Armstead's hard work - and Nivens' as well - has paid off
with the fast-rising tackle's selection in the third round by the New Orleans
Saints Friday night. He was chosen with the 75th overall selection.
Nivens had a brief professional career after, like Armstead, he came out of
the Southwestern Athletic Conference. He knows what it's like for Armstead,
Arkansas-Pine Bluff's first draft selection since Courtney Van Buren
went to San Diego in 2003, to refuse to be denied as a small-school player.
Armstead's stock soared after his senior season. He turned heads at the East-
West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl in January and then clocked 4.71 seconds
in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine - a record for offensive linemen - in
"I'm an agile offensive lineman," said the 6-foot-5, 306-pounder, an All-
SWAC first-team selection as a senior when Arkansas-Pine Bluff won the
"I like to move, get up to the second level. I understand angles, I like to
get out in an open field on screens or sweeps or tosses, but I also can get
down in the pile game. I like to call myself a well-balanced, well-rounded
Coming from a lower-tier FCS conference would seem to indicate the workout
wonder will need time to develop and reach the level of an NFL starter.
NFL.com has compared Armstead to Houston Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown,
while CBSSports.com likens him to Joe Staley of the San Francisco 49ers.
Unlike Armstead, the majority of the FCS selections come from the larger
conferences. Also selected Friday night were Southeastern Louisiana cornerback
Robert Alford to the Atlanta Falcons (second round, 60th overall) and Georgia
Southern strong safety J.J. Wilcox to the Dallas Cowboys (third, 80th).
Alford is Southeastern Louisiana's first NFL Draft pick since the Southland
Conference university reinstated football in 2003. The 5-10, 188-pounder has
sub-4.4-second speed in the 40 and is physical in coverage. The younger
brother of former NFL player Fred Booker also has potential return ability.
There was concern he would drop lower than the second round after NFL teams
learned at the NFL Combine in February that he has Crohn's disease. Crohn's
occurs primarily when the body's immune system attacks the digestive
tract and causes inflammation in the walls of the large or small intestines.
An episode causes extreme abdominal pain, and there's no telling how long the
attack will last.
Wilcox watched his stock rise after he switched from offense to defense as a
senior last season at Southern Conference power Georgia Southern. The 6-foot,
213-pound strong safety flashes terrific athleticism as a former wide receiver
and slot back. He will factor into special teams immediately as a pro.
Most FCS draft selections occur on the third day of the draft - Saturday -
during rounds 4 to 7.
The Sports Network