SCOUTING REPORT: Michael Sam
Michael Sam just wants to be judged like every other top football prospect in the country. He was one of 335 players at the annual NFL Combine to meet with teams and run a series of tests of size, strength and speed.
"I just wish you guys would just see me as Michael Sam the football player instead of Michael Sam the gay football player," he said to the media during the weekend. "I'm a pass rusher."
Sam is a first-team all-American and the Associated Press defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference. He had 11 ½ sacks last season.
"If you put me in a situation to get the quarterback, I'm going to get the quarterback," he said.
At 6-feet-2, 255 pounds, Sam has the profile to be a possible middle linebacker in the NFL, despite playing defensive end at Missouri.
STRENGTHS: Sam could be a perfect fit for solid programs like the Patriots, Steelers, and Packers. Established teams could handle and quell any possible distractions the media may cause involving his sexual orientation. As for on-the-field, Sam fits the inside linebacker mold of Tedy Bruschi or London Fletcher. He's athletic, has good speed, he can cover, and has a non-stop motor that could make him a successful middle linebacker in this league for years to come. The off-the-field distraction could possibly cause Sam to drop in the draft and he could be a steal in the third round.
WEAKNESSES: If teams are looking for Sam to become an outside pass rusher or and defensive lineman, they could be disappointed. He's been limited to playing a 4-3 scheme. At the NFL level, he's not strong enough or tall enough to play defensive end. Sam says he wants to be a pass rusher, but he's simply too small to play on the line in the NFL. He won't scare offenses and will have trouble winning battles against bigger offensive guards.
Bryan Souza is a contributor to Patriots Insider. He has extensive scouting knowledge of several college and pro teams throughout the country.
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