San Francisco 49ers: 10 Young Linchpin Players to Watch over Rest of 2015 Season

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August 23, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (69) rushes Dallas Cowboys tackle John Wetzel (61) during the second quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive End Arik Armstead

The 49ers’ current Round 1 investment didn’t exactly enter the league as an NFL-ready prospect and, certainly, San Francisco’s coaching staff didn’t envision him being an every-down player right out of the gate — something often suspect about first-round picks.

But at 6’7″ and 296 pounds, the former Oregon Duck has the sheer physical size to emerge as a force along San Francisco’s defensive line in the same sort of mold retired DE Justin Smith once held when the 49ers defense was a legitimate force.

Armstead still isn’t seeing much of the field aside from obvious passing downs. He needs some work against the run.

A season-ending injury to defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey has opened up the door for Armstead and fellow D-lineman Mike Purcell to get more snaps as pointed out by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee:

"[Armstead will] need to be able to hold his ground — not easy when you stand 6-7 and have long legs — and to make plays instead of merely being disruptive. The timing of Dorsey’s injury means that he likely will not be available at the beginning of the 2016 season, either. He is signed through 2016."

So expect the 49ers to continue their push of Armstead a bit over the remaining slate of the regular season.