Ray Ray Armstorng had it all, or at least it appeared that way. At the university of Miami, he played safety, and many NFL scouts touted him as a high draft round possibility. Then came the NCAA investigation into boosters giving players inappropriate fringe benefits, and the wrong dominoes started to fall for Armstrong. Suspensions that started in 2011, culminated with his being shown the door by "The U". He tried to latch on to Faulkner University in Alabama, but his eligibility was questioned, so he sat out the entire 2012 college season
Fast forward today, and you'll find Ray Ray Armstrong on the practice field with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent. It's a new day, and a new position as an outside linebacker is what's ahead of him.
"He’s going to start there at linebacker, yeah," coach Jeff Fisher said after Friday’s practice. "He’s just a really good athlete. He’s been off for a while. He’s in good shape. He participated in bowl games. He’s done some pro days. He got caught up in a difficult situation and he’s happy for the opportunity... He has prototypical WIL (weakside) linebacker size and speed," said general manager Les Snead said. "With your backup linebackers, you’re trying to find people who can cover kicks. So we’ll kind of look at both combinations (linebacker and safety) and see, and make the fit." - via St. Louis Post-Dispatch
He's gained 11 lbs, since his March pro-day, so he arrived in Rams rookie camp at 6'3, 227 lbs. His 40 times - 4.69 and 4.72 seconds - don't really scream safety at the NFL level, but as an outside linebacker they aren't bad. Armstrong is showing the maturity he'll need to make it as a undrafted free agent.
"It’s a lifelong dream — you want to play in the ‘League,’ " Armstrong said. "So just coming out here, just giving it my all and hopefully making that 53, it’s something that anybody would want... "I’m looking forward to being a Ram. I’m coming out here working hard and trying to focus in on the future now." - via St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The biggest question for Armstrong is: "How many outside linebackers will the Rams keep"? His background as a safety could give him a leg up on special teams; something every NFL team wants to see out of their depth players. Only time will tell, as Jeff Fisher starts to paint his Rams canvas for 2013.
How about a bonus video TST's own BlueNinja6 tipped me off to? Rodger Saffold talks about his thoughts on the Jake Long signing, and how great he thinks the Rams offensive line can be this season. Enjoy!