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5 Questions with Jim Tomsula about Arik Armstead

Posted Apr 30, 2015

Following the conclusion of the first round, Tomsula addressed the media and spoke about Armstead's potential and uniqueness as a prospect.

Before taking over as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers earlier this offseason, Jim Tomsula spent eight seasons leading the team's defensive line.

So it's safe to say he knows a thing or two about that position group. And after Thursday night's first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, it appears Tomsula has a new young lineman to mold.

With the 17th overall pick, the 49ers selected Oregon defensive tackle Arik Armstead.

Following the conclusion of the first round, Tomsula addressed the media and spoke about Armstead's potential and uniqueness as a prospect.

Question: As an old defensive line coach at heart, how exciting is it for you to get a defensive lineman that has a lot of high ceiling so to speak in terms of your first-round pick?

Tomsula: It’s exciting. He’s a really good young man. I can’t say that we started the whole process, how many months ago, thinking about a defensive lineman. But Arik was there. I think you’ll be very impressed with Arik.

Question: You said recently that this is the deepest group of defensive linemen that you’ve had in the eight years you’ve been here. You’ve coached a lot of these guys for several years. Why is this the right pick?

Tomsula: Where we’re strong we just got stronger, in my belief. Also, as we’re all talking and I’m listening to you talk to (general manager) Trent (Baalke), we’re not in a situation where Arik has to come in and plug.

So this is a place where we can bring a guy in that hasn’t had those years in the weight room. That was playing basketball, who’s still young in what he’s doing. And traditionally here, when you come in it takes some training. So we have that in that room where he’s added. It’s not the stress of a guy coming in and having to fill a hole.

Question: Anything stick out to you when he made his visit here? He said you guys didn’t talk a whole lot about football. Was it was more of a kind of get to know you type thing?

Tomsula: A big thing for me, I don’t know that I talk a whole lot of football with anybody when they come in, in my entire football career. I’m more or less trying to find out about the guy. I’m trying to see if you and I can look in each other’s eyes and communicate.

I’m not everybody’s cup of tea and everybody’s not my cup of tea. So you always have that connection. The one great thing about coaching is when you can feel the connection with a guy, you’ve got to build the trust. It all starts with that conversation. And then find out a little bit about the guy. He is a good guy.

Question: You mentioned that it’s a plus that he doesn’t have to come in right away and be a star from day one. But what makes you think he will be a star down the road?

Tomsula: Again, we talk about the bend. When you talk about all of the measurable, you talk about the bend, you talk about the athleticism, you talk about you see enough plays that he’s got some power and push and explosion. So when you look at his body, it’s all there. You time and test, it’s all there.

Now you meet the guy and it’s intriguing. It’s a nice guy, a good guy. And he’s a competitive guy. You can see that. You can get that out of the conversation.

Question: Trent talked about from his experience it’s very rare, it’s hard to find these guys that do what Arik does. Can you just in Lehman’s terms explain what his job description is?

Tomsula: The quick generic answer is stop the run and hit the quarterback. But for what we do there’s a lot of technique. There’s a lot of technique that we could sit for an hour and talk about. But it’s the technique. It’s the vision progressions. It’s the angles and the leverages.

We ask more out of our defensive linemen here in terms of seeing more and adjusting to things. When you play defensive line, you strike, see and run all at the same time.

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