Dorance Armstrong 2017 Preview By Charlie Campbell
Career Recap: Kansas hasn't been a top program in the Big XII or for producing NFL talent, but there will be a lot of NFL scouts watching the Jayhawks in 2017 after Armstrong's breakout performance last season. The sophomore put together some serious production in 2016 with 10 sacks, 20 tackles for a loss, 56 tackles, and three forced fumbles while being a First-Team All-Big XII selection. As a freshman, he recorded 3.5 sacks with 23 tackles and four passes batted.
2017 Season Outlook: Armstrong has an easy schedule for his junior season with a lot of weak opponents in the first half of the year. Of course, he is probably going to see a plethora of double teams. In late October, Armstrong will see a good test with Kansas State left tackle Scott Frantz. A few weeks later, Armstrong will see the best tackle he will play all season with Texas' Connor Williams. Williams is likely to be a future first-round pick, so getting the better of Williams would be huge for Armstrong's draft stock. The following game after that, Armstrong will see another pro prospect with Oklahoma's Orlando Brown. Performing well in the second half of the season against good competition could really help Armstrong considering that Kansas may not qualify for a bowl game.
Skill-Set Summary: Every year during the leadup to the NFL drafts, there are some prospects for the years ahead who jump off the screen to NFL evaluators during film study. Even though teams are focused on the players for the upcoming draft, some prospects are so dynamic with how much they impact the game and how impressive their physical talents are, they can't not get noticed. In speaking with team sources, one those prospects who was impossible to ignore from 2016 was Armstrong.
One general manager said they think Armstrong is a stud and can't see him staying for his senior year in 2018. They said that Armstrong could be on a par with, or better than, Boston College senior edge rusher Harold Landry. That general manager thought Landry would have been a late first- or second-round pick if he had entered the 2017 NFL Draft, and they liked Armstrong more than Landry.
Armstrong is an extremely fast edge rusher with a lightning first-step. He gets up field well and can burn tackles with his speed and ability to bend around the corner. Armstrong closes on the quarterback in an instant and packs a punch when he gets there. Not only is Armstrong very quick, but he is athletic and agile with the ability to redirect in space. He is a special athlete who isn't stiff and can dip underneath tackles. Armstrong uses his hands and feet at the same time. He also shows nice instincts and feel as a pass-rusher.
Armstrong could stand to improve his strength to disengage from blocks and get stouter in the ground game. He also could improve his recognition to not bite on ball fakes. Armstrong should work on more pass-rushing moves. He is occasionally too reliant on his speed and athleticism to run around blockers. Armstrong should use more spin moves and interior rip moves to have a big arsenal on how he attacks offensive tackles.
For the NFL, Armstrong will need to add weight to be a three-down defensive end. His best fit could come as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Armstrong's speed and athleticism could be very dynamic while standing up on the edge with a five-technique defensive end lined up next to him over offensive tackles. Armstrong has double-digit-sacks potential for the NFL and the upside to become a leading pass-rusher.
2018 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering the 2017 season, Armstrong is one of the top edge-rushing prospects. He could end up grading out well into the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.