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Pundits Unimpressed by Michael Sam's Athletic Performance at NFL Combine


Bleacher Report has a lengthy post up on Michael Sam's NFL scouting combine performance on Monday, which it describes as "about average":

Sam's drill performances and athletic times were a mixed bag, as the former Missouri standout finished about average among defensive ends. While that's to be expected for a mid-round prospect like Sam—especially given the immense spotlight he's been under since announcing that he is gay—the reaction from NFL teams will be interesting to watch.

Teams expecting to see a guaranteed superstar in the making were probably disappointed. But for those hoping for splits that put Sam well within the "draftable" range, there is little reason to feel he's fallen off any draft boards.

The number that sticks out most, arguably, is Sam's disappointing performance in the bench press. Those concerned about his strength aren't going to walk away assuaged. Sam's total of 17 reps at 225 pounds was one of the lowest figures among defensive linemen, better than only UCLA's Cassius Marsh.

The NY Daily News called it 'unimpressive':

The suddenly-scrutinized Missouri defensive end struggled throughout his drills and tests at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, showing exactly why scouts have had their doubts about his playing ability for months.

Sam, who measured 6-2, 266-pounds, needed a good workout if he hoped to calm concerns that he's a player without a position. Instead, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year showcased the skills of a player who simply doesn't project as more than a third-down pass-rusher in the NFL.

Sam faced media at the combine on Sunday, and faced mostly questions about his sexuality, though appeared at ease with handling the spotlight. Said Sam:

"'How's football going? 'How's training going?' I would love for you to ask me that question. But it is what it is and I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam the football player, not Michael Sam the gay football player.”

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  1. Wow, sounds like the vicious straight men are gunning for Sam's pre-emptive dismissal. Let's not let them set this new wicked narrative.

    Posted by: Sergio | Feb 24, 2014 2:28:16 PM

  2. Wicked Narrative? I'm a big Michael Sam fan but numbers don't lie, he just wasn't very impressive.

    Posted by: Cory | Feb 24, 2014 2:33:55 PM

  3. Homophobes in sports will do anything to stop him!

    Posted by: litper | Feb 24, 2014 2:36:20 PM

  4. Michael isn't big enough to be an end and isn't quick enough to be a linebacker, so it's undetermined what position/role he can play in the NFL. It is what it is. All we can do is hope for the best for him.

    Posted by: Francis | Feb 24, 2014 2:41:00 PM

  5. I don't know football. If strength and speed are the only things that matter, they may draft a gorilla instead.

    Posted by: simon | Feb 24, 2014 2:52:15 PM

  6. I have been watching the combine on the NFL network and they have said similar or worse things about other players. It has nothing to do w/Sam being gay.

    As Cory said, the numbers don't lie. Although he was SEC co-defensive player of the year, the NFL is another ballgame. College players learn quickly that in most cases, the Pro Players are bigger, stronger, and faster.

    Posted by: Belthazar | Feb 24, 2014 3:00:12 PM

  7. It's early yet. People are ready to discard Michael on stats alone.
    Where's their stats for heart?

    Know who had one of the worst draft pick evaluations ever?

    Tom Brady.

    All he wanted was a change and promised that he would make the best of it. Drafted in the last round. When he got the news he had to leave his house and walk the streets so he wouldn't be seen crying. 'Thank God. Now I won't have to sell insurance' he said. There's a lot more to the story. He was underdeveloped and underweight. A throwing coach took him under wing and trained him all summer before training camp started. Tom credited that coach with his success.

    Read that story a while ago. The details might be a little off but the message is what matters here. A chance. If not for being given a chance one of the most successful quarterbacks in the games history would have been an insurance salesman.

    Michael can play football. He will develop. What he needs is for prejudice to not be the factor that hampers his chance. Then the rest is up to him.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Feb 24, 2014 3:00:51 PM

  8. Tom Brady is too afraid to help him...

    Posted by: styler | Feb 24, 2014 3:02:47 PM

  9. Not all pros excell in their first box score or for the record,their first year. Being a team sport... it takes teamwork to put together a team.
    The first game Jackie Robinson played in Chicago, he made an error and only went 1-4... it didn't stop him from becoming the Rookie of the Year, and the MVP but he went on to become a member of the Hall of Fame.

    Posted by: jerry pritikin the Bleacher Preacher | Feb 24, 2014 3:13:56 PM

  10. I knew it wouldn't take the gays to start calling straight people homophobes for stating facts. There is a history of players that play better than these combine numbers show, but there is a reason why NFL teams use these in making draft choices. Shame on all the queens who don't know squat about football (and sports in general). He probably will be drafted in the late rounds and like ALL rookies, he will have to prove his worth. A great college career doesn't mean you will have a great (or even good) NFL career. The list of great college players flaming out in the NFL is a long list.

    Posted by: Perry | Feb 24, 2014 3:16:32 PM

  11. It's sad to see half of the gay men here abandon Michael just because they salivate for some straight cock. They still won't unzip for you, fellas, no matter how much you attempt to stymie the queer.

    Posted by: Håkon | Feb 24, 2014 3:19:49 PM

  12. And FYI, less than 2% of all college football players ever play professionally. Get over yourselves and stop looking for homophobia everywhere.

    Posted by: Perry | Feb 24, 2014 3:22:03 PM

  13. Perry loves her straight cocks too much, no gays should be allowed in NHL, it's straight men's job to slap these meaty asses and look at each others dongs in the showers.

    Posted by: litper | Feb 24, 2014 3:31:02 PM

  14. @Litper Oh sweetie, it is NFL, not NHL and they score touchdowns not homeruns, in case you weren't sure about that. The stats don't lie.

    Posted by: Perry | Feb 24, 2014 3:45:31 PM

  15. Sam faced the media at the combine on Saturday afternoon, not Sunday.

    Posted by: Luke | Feb 24, 2014 3:46:24 PM

  16. Thanks for correcting a typo, RICK perry

    Posted by: litper | Feb 24, 2014 4:00:22 PM

  17. @Litper Oh poor sweetie. She has nothing intelligent to say so she resorts to junior high school name calling.

    Posted by: Perry | Feb 24, 2014 4:16:46 PM

  18. I didn't know "Rick Perry" was an obscene word...

    Posted by: litper | Feb 24, 2014 4:24:43 PM

  19. Well, he did poorly at the combine, which I watched. But not disastrous making him undraftable. He might go late in the draft but probably will get drafted. I think the main concern right now is whether he can make the roster. In life, one exam won't determine who you are. He has to prove himself, and he will be given a chance.

    I honestly think it's better for him to get drafted low and proof himself worthy on the field. Fans hate disappointing high drafts, and they come often. And it seems that fans are, on average, pretty hostile to him.

    Posted by: CC | Feb 24, 2014 4:58:10 PM

  20. Jason Collins got hired not only for his work ethic and skill, but also that he's 7 ft tall. No 6 ft tall people play center at the NBA for a good reason - you can train on a lot of things, but not your height. These physical stats give an indication of the limits of a player's abilities.

    Posted by: CC | Feb 24, 2014 5:08:18 PM

  21. He should have known that coming out would mean the press would ask questions about it, so his sour grapes response is not warranted. To get to the NFL, it's really a question of getting the right doctor quickly enough to get the HGH and injectables you need to get big enough, fast enough. You can't do it at college, so you only get a few months before turning pro to size-up.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 24, 2014 5:58:10 PM

  22. A Missouri fan and an Oklahoma fan were watching Sams' comeoutance on TV.

    Missouri fan: "I just wish he would've done this sooner."

    Oklahoma fan: "Which Sooner?!?"

    Posted by: Tony G. | Feb 24, 2014 9:04:29 PM

  23. Do they measure testicle size as one of the evaluated criteria at the NFL combine?

    Bet'cha Michael's stat would blow the other guys outta the water. Might provide a little context for the performance discrepancies, as well.

    Posted by: FFS | Feb 25, 2014 1:30:39 AM

  24. Anon: Its not sour grapes. Don't be so literal. he is making a point. It is all part of the play book.

    Posted by: Liam | Feb 25, 2014 11:47:21 AM

  25. Bad workout, but he has skills...great penetrator, good ball handling skills...but his poor back door defense may cost him

    Posted by: bb06wr | Feb 25, 2014 6:02:50 PM

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