Arik Armstead isn’t the best player on the 49ers, but he is the most underrated.
The former first-round pick has everything you want from an interior rusher. He’s tall, powerful and he collapses the pocket. He’s a human forklift. But lately he has become an afterthought since he missed eight games with a shoulder injury in 2016, and since the Niners spent back-to-back top picks on players who play his position — DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas.
Buckner and Thomas are talented players, but the Niners shouldn’t have drafted them. They were redundant. The team already had Armstead. The Niners instead should have drafted offensive tackle Jack Conklin last year, and safety Jamal Adams or cornerback Marshon Lattimore this year.
To make room on the defensive line for Buckner and Thomas, the Niners’ new regime has moved Armstead from defensive tackle to defensive end in the base defense, which should help his ability to stop the run. But on passing downs, Armstead probably won’t play defensive end — Ahmad Brooks and Elvis Dumervil will. And Armstead probably won’t play defensive tackle — Buckner and Thomas will. That means on passing downs Armstead probably won’t play at all.
What a waste.
Who do you think the most underrated player on the 49ers is? Explain your answer.