Arik Armstead sounds poised.
The first-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers is set to make his preseason debut Saturday night against the Houston Texans and judging by his comments in the most recent 49ers Radio podcast – the Oregon product is ready to make an important step in his NFL career.
"It's exciting," the team's 17th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft said earlier this week. "I'm not coming in with any expectations. I've just been working hard, and I've been trying to get ready and everything. All my preparation is going to take care of itself in the game."
Armstead's training includes detailed conversations with players and coaches, including veteran defensive lineman Darnell Dockett, defensive line coach Scott Brown and defensive assistant Aubrayo Franklin, an 11-year veteran NFL defensive lineman.
"I've learned a lot from watching him, and seeing how he works and how he does things technique-wise," the rookie said of Dockett's influence. "I try to steal some things from him."
As for Brown and Franklin, Armstead's two defensive line coaches have helped a lot. It's also worth noting that Armstead said his defensive role with the 49ers is very similar to what he experienced in college.
Furthermore, Armstead said he's enjoyed having a former defensive lineman on San Francisco's coaching staff.
"Anytime you can get a coach who has played the game, he has an extra edge," the rookie said about Franklin, who played three seasons with the 49ers. "There's something special about a guy who has been out there doing it. He'll come up with some little things that will help you out there, little things that will help you be successful."
Little things like playing with proper leverage.
Armstead, 6-7, has displayed impressive pad level in the first two weeks of training camp.
The podcast conversation with the 20-year-old rookie touched on other aspects of his first-year experiences with the 49ers. Besides the on-field aspects, we asked about Armstead's Sacramento family members attending practices, what rookie is rooming with the first-round pick, and what music is a must-listen before he steps on the field.
"My favorite artists are J-Cole and Drake," Armstead said. "I listen to a lot of them, and Future is kind of nice right now. So I listen to them and Nipsey Hussle, a lesser-known guy. I mix it up a bit."
Another notable topic of discussion was Armstead's temporary uniform number. The rookie pointed out that his No. 69 – mostly worn by offensive linemen – has been donned by star pass-rusher Jared Allen of the Chicago Bears.
Armstead said he's still deciding on if that will be his permanent digit with the 49ers.
"The player makes the number, and if I'm doing my job well, I think the number will be fine," he said. "I just have to continue to do that. But I'm deciding, I'm still thinking about that.
"A lot of people have been saying, 'It's funky, but it's cool and you can make it work.' I don't know, I'm still thinking about it."
Armstead has time to finalize his choice before the team's Sept. 14 home opener against the Minnesota Vikings. When his decision is official, that's when the Faithful can start rocking the first-round pick's first NFL jersey.
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