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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Arik Armstead discusses his role on the 49ers defense, Nick Bosa, Jalen Ramsey to the Rams

Oct 17, 2019 at 9:28 AM--

Arik Armstead is enjoying the best season of his pro career. At least, that's what Pro Football Focus is trying to tell us. The San Francisco 49ers' fifth-year defensive lineman has earned the highest overall grade (89.5) of his career. He ranks No. 12 on the analytics site among defensive linemen and first against the run (91.0 grade).

Armstead, who joined 95.7 The Game on Wednesday, is playing on the fifth-year option of his initial rookie contract, which means he could hit free agency next year. Of course, all he can control is the here and now, so that is what the defender remains focused on.

"The game slows down, you get better and better every year," Armstead told Damon Bruce, Ray Ratto, and Matt Kolsky. "You learn more every year. I just think my mindset has kind of shifted this year. It's great to play with great players. It definitely gives you peace of mind that you don't have to make every play out there. That all you have to do is do your role, and my role is to go out there and be dominant, and get after the passer on third down.

"My role is pretty simple, and I just try to execute it to the best of my ability."

What has helped players like Armstead, among others, is the offseason additions to improve the defense's lackluster pass rush. One of those additions has been rookie defensive end Nick Bosa, who has been the NFL's most productive pass rusher, again, per Pro Football Focus. Not the most productive rookie pass rusher — the most productive, period.

"For a rookie to come in with that immediate impact, that's not very common, Armstead said of Bosa. "So he definitely came into the league with a certain skill set that's been working for him. It's been great to play with him, and his knowledge of the game, especially coming from his family — and his father was a first-round pick, his brother is an All-Pro (and) Pro Bowl player, too. I know he's learned a lot from them, as well.

"Just to bring that into the league at a young age, and being able to hone in on that, and learn from that, and continue to get better from that, I think he's going to have a great career."

The big NFC West news of the week was the Jacksonville Jaguars sending star cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for several draft picks. The thoughts on the impact of the trade have been mixed. Many believe it helps the Rams in the short-term but may not make enough of an impact to help the team catch up to the division-leading and undefeated 49ers. The cost (both what was given up and the salary cap ramifications of a potential future deal) could also hurt the organization in the long-term.

What was Armstead's response to the Ramsey-to-Rams news? "Cool story."

"For me, personally, it doesn't mean too much," Armstead said. "Cool news to look at. It really doesn't have a big impact on my life, day to day, or what I have to do on the football field. He plays DB, and I play D-line.

"I mean, it's a cool story. He's a big-name player going to the Rams. They're in our division. He's a great player. I'm sure he'll help them a lot. But for me, personally, it really doesn't concern me."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Armstead below.

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