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Why the Bears Should Stay Away from Ryquell Armstead

Tom Kavanaugh details why Ryan Pace and the Bears would be wise not to spend a high pick on the Temple running back, due to his one-dimensional skillset.

Dane Brugler of The Athletic reported that the Bears have shown significant interest in Temple running back Ryquell Armstead. Burglar’s Halas Hall sources tend to be spot-on, so I decided to analyze his film to see if he has the skill set to fit in Matt Nagy’s offense.


Armstead is a bulldozer of a ball carrier. Delivers some devastating blows to his opponents, especially when he gets a full head of steam. Very good at running behind his pads and fighting for extra yards as well. Low center of gravity and strong lower body maximize his contact balance. Takes a valiant effort from defenders to get him down.

Possesses formidable change of direction skills. Usually looks to push the pedal to the medal downhill but can make subtle jukes while running in straight line without wasting much momentum. Deploys quick enough cuts when running laterally to be effective in outside zone as well. However, gains much more ground when cutting forward versus laterally (better in vertical concepts than horizontal).

Initial burst is above average. As long as Armstead continues to move once he has been given the ball, he can get to Point A to Point B pretty quickly. However, has a harder time regaining his speed when he has to come at complete halt. So, isn’t going to prance around at the LOS like a Le’Veon Bell or Saquon Barkley. True one-cut runner who wants to get downhill in a hurry.

Thrives in short-yardage situations. Size, power, contact balance, and burst make him an ideal option to pick up hard yards. Illustrated some impressive movements of pushing scrums or churning forward to move the sticks. Will definitely be an asset on the goal line.


Vision is hit or miss. Isn’t terrible in this area but can definitely improve. Eagerness to advance up field tunnels his vision. Doesn’t take negative gains or run into a pile of bodies, yet often pursues the first bit of daylight that appears. Fails to find the optimal path a lot of the time because of this.

Receiving skills leave you wanting more. Possesses capable hands to be a check down option, but that’s about it. Isn’t dynamic is space and doesn’t seem to have the skill set to run routes. Is most effective in a 1st and 2nd down type of role.

Isn’t very elusive. Occasionally deploys subtle cuts in the open field that make defenders whiff. However, is much better at running through his opponents than making them miss. Pretty limited in space.

Long speed didn’t match the 4.45 second 40 yard dash he ran at the combine. Not saying he looks slow on tape, just did not look that fast. Didn’t have make many big plays and only broke off one long run (against Boston College) from the tape that I saw. Illustrated more short area explosiveness if anything.

Wasn’t asked to pass protect a whole lot and the results weren’t good he was. Tough and bullish demeanor as a runner did not carry over in pass protection. Usually looked disinterested in engaging with oncoming rushers from the limited reps that I saw. Will have to improve in this area in order to stay on the field on passing downs.


Ryquell Armstead is a down hill, power runner who does his best work running inside zone. Which means he does fit the primary running scheme that Matt Nagy likes to run. However, Armstead is a pretty one dimensional because he doesn’t offer much in the passing game.

I wouldn’t be on board with spending one of the Bears’ first two picks on him. If he was available in round 5 or beyond that, I would have no issue with Ryan Pace selecting him for more depth in the running back rotation, but he most likely wouldn’t be the long term answer.

Follow Tom on Twitter (@tomkavanaugh44) for more Bears news and opinion


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