Toronto Argonauts general manager Jim Barker thinks the New England Patriots found a hidden gem in Armond Armstead.
The Patriots signed the former Argonauts defensive lineman earlier this week and Barker believes New England added a player with first-round ability.
"He’s a phenomenal young man. We don’t often in our league get NFL first round [draft picks]," Barker told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. "He would have been a low first, early second. But we don’t get those guys before they go through your league. So it was a pleasure for us to be able to have Armond.
It’s just rare that an NFL team can get a first round pick without having to use one."
Armstead was considered a potential early draft pick at USC before leaving the football program after suffering a heart attack in 2011.
Barker said the Patriots shouldn’t worry about any health concerns in his future as Armstead has been examined by several cardiac specialists
‘We would never play a player who didn’t pass a physical. We actually had him because of the issues he had," Barker said. "He went to see cardiac specialists. He checked out fine, and never missed a practice."
The Argonauts were able to swoop up Armstead after he went undrafted. The 22-year-old paid immediate dividends in his lone season in the CFL picking six sacks and helping lead Toronto to a Grey Cup championship.
Before joining New England, Armstead met with the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts after the Argos granted him his release in early January.