Michael Sam – Defensive Line
Sam is another fifth year senior. He started nine games in 2012 and is a starter this year. He plays in a rotation but still plays about 60% of the defensive snaps.
Sam was not on a lot of clubs scouting lists early in the season, but you can’t help but notice him on tape. He is an undersized defensive end (6’2 – 255), but he is athletic, quick, and has play speed. On top of that, he is very competitive and plays hard every snap.
Sam plays both from a three-point and two-point stance. He is very quick off the ball, and he uses that quickness to be disruptive. While he lacks the size and power to consistently hold the point versus big tackles, he uses his quickness to shoot gaps. His change of direction and lateral movement are good, and that keeps him active at the line of scrimmage. He is quick to find the ball and makes plays. He is a good pass rusher at the college level and can stay low to get under his opponents. He has quick hands and shows the ability to put counter moves together. He is an average bull rusher. He is a top pursuit player because of his motor, play speed, and always taking good angles to the ball.
Sam’s best chance to play in the NFL is as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He has very good outside linebacker size to go along with the required play speed and athleticism. He is going to have to prove that he can drop into coverage and transition. If he does that well, then I see him as a late-round pick.
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