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49ers Rookie Arik Armstead Plays with Mean Streak

Don't let the smile fool you.

Arik Armstead means business on the football field, even if he looks easy going away from it. When you hear the 21-year-old defensive lineman talk about his on-field approach, the San Francisco 49ers just might have found the perfect blend of character on and off the field.

Armstead's politeness was on display as he met with the Bay Area media on Friday. The Oregon product, whom the 49ers made the 17th overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft less than 24 hours earlier, was courteous and thoughtful as he explained his views on joining San Francisco.

But when Armstead was asked if his demeanor was consistent on the field, the 6-foot-7, 295-pound football player sharply replied: "I would say ask the people I played against if I'm nice. I don't think they'll say I'm nice."

Point taken.

Armstead played hurt in 2014. An ankle sprain limited his production at times, but even so, Armstead displayed toughness and was able to total a team-high 16 quarterback pressures to go along with 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss.

Armstead recognizes that phsyicality will be a big part of his role with the 49ers as a four-technique defensive tackle who lines up head-up on the opposing offensive tackle.

"Football is a violent, physical sport," Armstead said. "If you're not violent and physical, you're going to get dominated. I try to dominate people to the best of my ability. It starts up front being physical. That's how I go about my game, especially in the first quarter trying to set my tempo."

Armstead sounded confident about his ability to hold his own in the NFL trenches.

"I think if you watch my film," he said, "you'll see that."

San Francisco's defensive linemen, one of the deepest groups head coach Jim Tomsula has seen in years with the 49ers, has now added a quality player to the room. Armstead can also line up on both sides of the defense. In 2014, he spent his time on the left side of the line, a spot on the field in which the team has an open competition for a starting role.

Armstead said his focus is on getting to work quickly with the 49ers. He will have to wait some time, though. Because Oregon's class schedule runs through May, the earliest Armstead can join the team's offseason program is in early June. San Francisco's mandatory minicamp will be held from June 9-11.

The team's newest defensive contributor said he'll get into his playbook and study 2014 game film to prepare himself for his rookie campaign.

In doing so, Armstead seemingly wants to keep his reputation intact.

"I'm a hard worker, and I'm a good person," the first-round pick said. "I treat people the right way and that's number one in my mind."

That is almost true, it just doesn't apply to his opponents.

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