After recording his first career sack on Sunday, Arik Armstead sought out the player many folks around the league likened his potential to before the draft.
The rookie pass-rusher made it a priority to shake Calais Campbell's hand in the postgame scrum following the San Francisco 49ers loss to the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
"I introduced myself to him and he said, 'Oh, so you must be that guy that everybody is talking about,'" Armstead said on Monday. "I thought that was pretty funny. He's an excellent player, and a guy I've been studying and looking up to for a while now."
Campbell, the eighth-year Cardinals veteran who has 43.5 career sacks to his name, is listed at 6-foot-8, 300 pounds. Armstead, the 49ers first-round pick from 2015, stands 6-foot-7, 292 pounds. The comparison is largely based on size, yes, but Armstead's athleticism also matches Campbell.
Despite the lopsided outcome of the game, the Oregon product turned in his best performance yet in Arizona. Armstead finished the afternoon with the sack, three tackles and two quarterback hurries.
"I'm just getting more and more comfortable," Armstead said. "The more I play, the more I get settled in and able to do my job and help my team win."
Select images from the 49ers Week 3 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.
Armstead rushed from the right side at times on Sunday – something he previously hadn't done in a game. The lineman said he has been practicing on both sides in hopes of becoming a more versatile asset for the 49ers.
The rookie acknowledged that, along with the rest of the team, he has plenty to improve on moving forward to put the 47-7 loss in the rear-view mirror.
"Every football game when it's live, things are going 100 mph, but when you watch the film, you see what went wrong," Armstead said. "It's a lot of small things that add up into the score being that way. Got to correct those little things that turn into big problems."
One facet of the game Armstead can obviously help with is creating more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. San Francisco is tied for 11th in the NFL with six sacks this year, but five of them came Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings.
The 49ers will likely have to add to that total next Sunday when the high-powered Green Bay Packers come to town.
"Teams are max protecting and doing some good things protection wise," Armstead said. "When we're blitzing and bringing pressure, I think that affects the game. It changes the quarterback's rhythm. Hopefully we can do that, especially playing against Aaron Rodgers."