Michael Sam may not be drafted and it has nothing to do with him being gay


(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

In February, all the talk surrounding the NFL draft was not about defensive end Jadeveon Clowney or quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. It was Michael Sam, a linebacker-defensive end from Missouri who publicly announced that he was gay.

“I understand how big this is,” Sam said. “It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be … I want to be a football player in the NFL.”

But after a disappointing showing at the NFL combine, will he be?

Sam is listed at 6 feet 2 and 261 pounds, light for an NFL defensive end. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.91 seconds, not the ideal speed for an outside linebacker. His other measurables – 17 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press, 25 1/2-inch vertical leap and 9 feet 6 inches in the broad jump – are cause for concern:

The lack of speed and upper body strength has to concern most NFL teams, but Sam’s absence of explosiveness in the vertical jump and broad jump is a bigger issue. NFL teams want their front seven players to have leg strength and the ability to attack an opponent. Sam’s lack of leg strength in those categories is a red flag.

A lack of speed and upper-body strength could be a big concern. Here are the draft results of prospects with similar 40-yard times and bench rep numbers.

Round Drafted 40Yard time (secs) Bench Press reps
Andrew Shull undrafted 4.90 16
Copeland Bryan undrafted 4.90 16
Lamont Bryant undrafted 4.91 17
Adell Duckett undrafted 4.93 14
Clint Mitchell 7 4.93 16
Damontre Moore 3 4.95 12
Khaleed Vaughn undrafted 5.00 14
Maurice Evans undrafted 5.00 17
Alton Weaver undrafted 5.02 17
Marcus Spears undrafted 5.03 15
Calais Campbell 2 5.04 16

“He’s not a linebacker, and he’s really not a defensive end,” an NFC personnel director told the Journal Sentinel.

He may not even be drafted.

More on the 2014 NFL Draft:

Texas A&M’s Mike Evans is most explosive WR in NFL draft

Wide receivers a scary proposition in NFL draft

Cleveland Browns shouldn’t wait on a QB in NFL draft

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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