Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest
By JENNIFER HALE  |  Last updated 7/23/13
A happy 22nd birthday to Saints rookie left tackle Terron Armstead - who says he's going after the job of protecting Drew Brees' blind side at full speed when training camp opens Thursday. It's a tough task for a rookie - even though Armstead believes he's mature enough to step up. In honor of his birthday - Armstead tweeted (@optimusprime_72) "The birth of my twins, a college football championship, and now a New Orleans Saint all in my 21st year of living." The birth of my twins, a college football championship, and now a New Orleans saint all in my 21st year of living Terron Armstead (@OptimusPrime_72) July 23, 2013 Armstead won a SWAC National Championship at Arkansas Pine Bluff last year, then the Saints drafted him in the 3rd round. Many would consider Armstead to be a developmental project, a gem in need of time to polish the rough edges. During OTA's earlier this summer, Sean Payton said: "You're asking do you see him starting next year? I don't. I think that it varies with these rookies. Some seem to be ready to go and transition very quickly. And then some it takes more time. It just depends on the individual, when he comes in here and how he picks things up. I go back to our first year with (Marques) Colston at the rookie camp. He was on the ground and really struggled with his back and conditioning. All of a sudden in that first training camp, (he) really came on and all of a sudden started the season at X I think. To say that he's (Armstead) going to come in right away at that position and be a starter, I just know that he's going to be able to come in here and compete for that opportunity, but I think there are some players that are going to do the same thing. So, we've been pretty disciplined and had good fortune at finding good offensive linemen at the right spot in the draft. Hopefully this is a case of that." The Saints have proven time and again they're not afraid to go with an unorthodox decision. Left tackle though, is a different story. Records show they haven't started a rookie there since J.T. Taylor in 1978. Armstead says he's in New Orleans to compete, and he may just have the necessary-yet-unique combination of super strength, speed and agility. He ran an unofficial 4.65-second 40-yard-dash at the NFL Combine, which is the fastest time of any offensive lineman at the combine since it started in 1982. Armstead, a Technology Engineering major, also ran track and threw the shot put at Arkansas Pine Bluff. Armstead's contributions to the Golden Lions earned him the honor of the 2012 SWAC Indoor Championships Most Outstanding Performer. He won the shot put (58-02) and weight throw (57-11.25) events, and Arkansas Pine Bluff captured Gold. But putting himself between the league's top bull-dozing pass rushers and the Saints' 20-million-a year quarterback is another matter, especially when it comes to effectively preventing the sack. The Black and Gold's coaching staff likely won't know what they have - or don't have - until Armstead, Jason Smith and likely front runner Charles Brown suit up in pads and take some pre-season hits.
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