Cahokia High School graduate Terron Armstead was taken by the New Orleans Saints on Friday in the third-round of the 2013 NFL draft.
An athletically gifted left tackle, Armstead was projected to be taken anywhere from the bottom of the first round to the end of the third round. He ended up going in the middle of the third round (75th overall pick).
Armstead felt like the Saints, who lost starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod to the Chicago Bears in free agency this offseason, were a good fit for him.
"The Saints have always been one of the teams I believe I can fit right in with,'' Armstead said. "I'm so excited right now I really can't explain my feelings. I'm so anxious to get down to New Orleans and so ready to put on that black and gold again.
"Arkansas-Pine Bluff is black and gold, so I don't have to change my color scheme.''
Saints coach Sean Payton said that there will be an open competition for the starting job at left tackle. Charles Brown, a second-round pick out of Southern Cal in 2010, also is expect to vie for the job.
"Definitely music to my ears,'' Armstead said. "I'm a serious competitor, real serious. I'm going to come in and I'm looking to fight for the job from day one."
The 6-foot-5, 304-pound Armstead caught the attention of NFL scouts with strong performances at the East-West Shrine Bowl and the Senior Bowl.
He then ran the 40-yard dash in an eye-popping 4.71 seconds -- a record for offensive line -- at the NFL combine.
"The East-West Shrine Game was definitely a huge opportunity for me, especially coming from a small school (and) getting a chance to go against some bigger competition,'' Armstead said. "The biggest question coming out of my school was the level of competition. I went down there with a chip on my shoulder, of course, and just tried to answer the question about level of competition.
"Then I went to the Senior Bowl the next week and tried to continue the same thing and I believe I just topped it off at the combine and I got to show all the teams my athleticism."
Armstead started his final 32 games at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He had 314 knockdown blocks and 47 touchdown-resulting blocks during his college career.
As a senior, Armstead was named to the Football Championship Subdivision All-American first-team and was a member of the All-American Sleeper Team compiled by The NFL Draft Report.
Armstead, who won the shot put as a senior at Cahokia in the Class 2A state track and field meet in 2009, also was an eight-time champion for the Arkansas-Pine Bluff track and field team.
Armstead said he was excited about blocking for quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints' high-powered offense.
Coming from a small school, Armstead beat the odds by getting drafted in the early rounds.
"I never doubted, I never doubted myself,'' Armstead said. "I saw myself going big out of high school and when I didn't, I kind of questioned it for a minute, but I kept fighting trying to get better as a player, learn more about the game, and I never doubted myself."