Niners' Arik Armstead on critics: 'Fuel to the fire'

Arik Armstead is set to play a major role in a reworked San Francisco 49ers defensive front.

The No. 17 overall pick is a 6-foot-7 stud athlete with high upside, but during the draft process some scouts and evaluators questioned his consistency. With Justin Smith's retirement, the Niners will need the rookie to play often and well to continue their style of defense we've seen the past several seasons.

The rookie dismissed critics who characterized his play in college as lacking consistency and effort.

"Football-wise, it comes from people not noticing the little things," Armstead told the San Francisco Chronicle's Eric Branch. "Me getting double-teamed or triple-teamed on certain plays. But those things help my team win games. I'll sacrifice stats and things like that if I'm doing what my coaches want me to do. And if we're winning doing that, I'm happy about it. I'll deal with critics for that."

One Pac-12 area scout told NFL Media's Lance Zierlein during the draft process that he didn't "see the production or the consistent push that I feel like I should see from him. He could end up being a monster, but you have to understand that what you get right now is just a big athlete with some upside."

It's criticism like that the rookie plans to use as inspiration on the field.

"It's fuel to the fire," Armstead said. "It's a little extra motivation. Everyone wants to prove people wrong, but it's not my main driving factor ... If people say good things about me, I try to prove them right. If they say bad things about me, I try to prove them wrong. For me, it's the people who don't have the knowledge about what I'm doing that can be a little frustrating. But it's OK. Everyone has an opinion. I've learned you can't control everyone's opinion."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Geno Smith and the Jets' QB position and much, much more with special co-host Colleen Wolfe. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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