The Patriots signed defensive lineman Armond Armstead yesterday, and his old boss thinks they got a steal.
The former Southern Cal standout, who left the program after suffering a heart attack, played for the Toronto Argonauts last season, and Argos general manager Jim Barker had nothing but praise for him.
”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.”
Barker said Armstead went through numerous test before he was cleared to play, and was able to play every game.
That should allay some of the health concerns.
”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.”
Other teams showed an interest in Armstead, and if there are no medical problems, the Patriots may have unearthed a contributor.