When the NFL draft takes place on April 25-27, two of the country’s top black college football players could hear their names called. Heading into the draft, the two most impressive HBCU prospects have been Arkansas-Pine Bluff offensive tackle Terron Armstead and Howard University linebacker Keith Pough, both capturing the attention of several NFL scouts over the last three months.
Armstead, a 6´5˝, 306-pounder, made a huge leap in terms of his status at the NFL Combine, last month. He ran a 4.71 in the 40-yard dash, which is a new record for offensive linemen at the Combine.
“I’ve been truly blessed with elite speed for my size,” Armstead said. “I’ve always been a pretty fast guy for my size.”
The speed isn’t the only thing that caught the eyes of the NFL scouts. Armstead has exhibited some terrific agility, as well. Some pro football experts believe he’s talented enough to play tight end.
“I definitely consider myself a versatile athlete,” Armstead said. “Whatever team I go to, I would be willing to play wherever they want me to, but I’m definitely an offensive tackle.”
He’s watched a lot of NFL games over the years. He has spent a considerable amount of time looking at the different offensive linemen who play his position.
“I watch Jake Long (St. Louis Rams) and Joe Staley (San Francisco 49ers) the most,” Armstead said. “Those two guys remind me of myself. They’re two athletic tackles, great players and great left tackles.”
In addition to the NFL Combine, Armstead participated in the Senior Bowl and the East West Shrine Game. He was able to showcase his talents in these two major all-star games, which helped to bolster his stock in the draft.
Armstead received a good foundation playing for head coach Monte Coleman at UAPB. Coleman played for the Washington Redskins, where he won three Super Bowls. He knows what it takes to play in the NFL.
Armstead provided the Golden Lions with great run and pass blocking. He led UAPB to a 10-2 record and a SWAC championship last season. He credits his coach and teammates for much of his success.
“Coach Coleman really helped me a lot,” said Armstead, who received second-team All-SWAC honors. “He taught me a lot about the game. He teaches you the right things. We had a great team, last year. I played with some good players like Brandon Thurmond (defensive end) and Bill Ross (linebacker). Brandon is the hardest guy I had to block all year and I played in the Senior Bowl with some great players. He can really play. Bill Ross is a good player. He’s always in the right position on the field.”
Pough always seems to be in the right spot. The Bison playmaking linebacker had an impressive showing at the East West Shrine Game. He had a chance to compete against a number of major college players who will be taken in the draft.
“It was a great experience,” said Pough, who also participated in the NFL Combine. “My thoughts are the only difference between the FCS and FBS is the number of quality athletes on the team and on the field at any given time.
“In the FCS, you have two of three guys that can really play at the next level. But at a LSU or an Alabama, you have 33 guys who can play every down and play on that next level. That’s the only difference.”
Pough, a 6´3˝, 235-pounder, had a tremendous four-year career at Howard University. He finished his career as the all-time career leader in tackles for losses with 71.5 at the FCS level.
He’s coming off a great season where he was chosen the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, leading the Bison to a 7-4 overall and a 6-2 mark in the conference. He had 72 total and 44 solo tackles with 3.5 sacks, last season.
He is looking forward to joining some of the great Howard players who are in the NFL.
“We have some good players in the NFL, like Antoine Bethea (Indianapolis Colts), Ronald Bartell (St. Louis Rams) and Tracy White (New England Patriots),” said Pough, who was named to the SBN Black College Football All-American team. “These guys played some great football at Howard. Now, they’re doing well in the NFL. We have a good tradition. It’s one to be reckoned with. We don’t have as many players as Alabama, but we have quality guys. We have guys who play at a high level and play every Sunday.”
Armstead and Pough aren’t sure where they will be taken in the draft. But these are two players to watch as it gets closer to the draft. Their stock could rise.