Michael Sam struggles to prove he can play LB
The NFL combine is a chance to impress teams. Players have an opportunity in front of them to perform at a high level and improve their status for the NFL draft. Not every prospect performs well — and some really struggle.
Unfortunately, the stock of former Missouri Tiger Michael Sam may have dropped a round or more during Monday's combine drills.
The biggest obstacle for Sam isn't his decision to announce he's openly gay. It's how he projects to the NFL. And he didn't perform well in front of NFL decision-makers Monday.
Sam is an undersized 4-3 defensive end at 6-2 and 261 pounds, and he hadn't shown the ability to play linebacker.
During his workout at the combine, he didn't display the physical tools necessary to convert to linebacker in the NFL.
First of all, Sam isn't very fast. He clocked a 4.91-second 40-yard dash. UCLA's Anthony Barr and Buffalo's Khalil Mack, who are considered the top 3-4 outside linebacker prospects, both ran 4.6-second 40-yard dashes. Sam's time was among the worst of all defensive ends.
He also struggled in other events. His 17 repetitions on the bench press and 25.5-inch vertical jump were also well below average.
When Sam participated in drills to see if he could convert to linebacker, he lumbered around the field and simply did not look fluid enough to be a conversion prospect.
After a poor performance at the combine, Sam is likely considered late-round prospect by most teams.