Posted February 24, 2014

Michael Sam posts average 40-yard dash times at 2014 NFL scouting combine

2014 Scouting Combine, NFL Draft, NFL draft 2014
Michael Sam is blazing an important trail, but he didn't do that on the track.

Michael Sam is blazing an important trail, but he didn’t do that on the track. (David Drapkin/AP)

Michael Sam has said that he’d rather be seen as Michael Sam, the football player while he’s at the scouting combine. Not Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to enter the NFL draft. Of course, that’s impossible, but when Sam hit the field at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium for his part in the drills that included defensive linemen and linebackers on Monday morning, the focus was solely on his football skills.

In the 40-yard dash, Sam took a false start on his first run, and then put up an unofficial 4.79 on his first full try. He looked a lot like he does on tape — he ran a bit too high, was more gliding than explosive and didn’t really stand out in any particular direction.

MORE: 2014 NFL Mock Draft | 2014 NFL Draft Big Board | More 2014 NFL draft coverage

He had a false start on his second try as well … and then, another. Finally, he took off and looked very much like he did on the first run, except that he was a bit slower with an unofficial 4.84. It was clear with all the false starts that Sam was trying to get rolling with as much quickness as possible, but he’s not a player who’s faster on the field than he was on the track — with the occasional exception presented by tape of him beating a tackle on the outside edge.

The real NFL question will be whether Sam fits better as an outside pass-rushing linebacker, or perhaps as a run-side defensive end. I don’t think he has the pure explosiveness to excel as an edge rusher in a four-man front where he’ll have to take on blockers inside and get by. However, I have seen him stunt inside and get skinny through gaps and create pressure. Like most mid-round draft picks at his nebulous position, Sam is a player whose attributes will have to be tailored to a specific set of schemes. He’s not going to come in and just blow everyone away wherever you put him.

“I’m a pass rusher,” Sam told the media last week. “If you put me in a situation to get the quarterback, I’m going to get the quarterback. Whoever coaches or GMs, this league is a passing league, I’d like to believe in myself as a good pass rusher … I can drop back in coverage as well. My specialty is rushing the passer.”

It’s a specialty to be sure, but how special is it really? Based on Monday’s results, Michael Sam’s best combine performance will unquestionably be when he took the podium in front of that huge media throng on Saturday, and said what he needed to say.

22 comments
bohicamonster
bohicamonster

Some of you people make me laugh. He was the SEC defensive player of the year, meaning he was considered as the best defensive player in the best college conference in the country. I'm wondering how many times the SEC DPOY hasn't been drafted, regardless of his combine. I'm betting never. Hell, I can think of some SEC defensive players whom were considered just the best at their position, such as a DT or LB, and had bad combines, and they still went in the first round. If no one drafts this young man, it would be pure bigotry. Period.

Dumptruck
Dumptruck

Has anyone considered the thought that maybe Michael Sam is only coming out of the closet so he can be a "novelty" for the first team to have an openly gay player, even though he is really mediocre at best? Use the gay-thing as a means to get into the NFL rather than talent and physical ability? I'm not a Homophobe, but this story has become the focus, rather than his dismal performance at the Combine?

PhilipBuzter
PhilipBuzter

Oh geez. I watched him on the NFL Network and had all these critical appraisals, but I'm not sure I can use any of them because of his, uh, well, um, you know, his uh, sexuality.


Like, I was going to point out that he looked a bit stiff, but hey. That's out. You understand, I'm sure. Then I was going suggest he didn't seem fluid. But, hey, there you go again. Fluid. People will just get the wrong idea.


My best guess is he was nervous, having dumped a truckload of pressure on himself by stupidly declaring his homosexuality to an international audience -- something he could have done after the combine or even after the draft. But you get the sense he was used by any of the several homosexual political and social action groups out there who wanted him primarily for their public relations and probably didn't much of a crap about his football future -- if he has one.


Oh well. Live and learn.

Robert96
Robert96

Ask his teammates............Would you go out to dinner with this guy if you were the only one?  Would you take a general population shower with this guy, alone?  Would you invite this guy to your home if it were just you and him?  Would you go "hit a couple of bars" with this guy?  Would you introduce your little brother to him?  ..................any more questions?

NON SMILEY
NON SMILEY

If he wanted to be judged as a football player only, he would have waited until he was drafted to announce his gayness. If he had waited no one would be talking about him, just as no one is talking about those in similar draft positions. He thought the media hype would help his chances in the draft.

Evan4
Evan4

Like people said before he came out, he was a 3rd day pick at best. The combine just proved how average he is. And by average I mean NFL average. I am sure he is a beast compared to joe blow who is drinking and smoking every day.

bohicamonster
bohicamonster

Or maybe he knows how homophobic the NFL is and he wanted them to know exactly who he is?

Michael39
Michael39

@Robert96  


little brother?  If your brother is straight, what is the issue?  If he isn't, Sam seems like as decent a catch as anyone else out there.

Zero1337
Zero1337

@The_truth_hurts  He will be drafted by a team in a hyper liberal city where they can sell his merchandise. Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, New York...one of them will draft him purely for the good pr and merchandise he sells, even though he will probably never play a down in the nfl as a starter.

BernieKeeping
BernieKeeping

@Evan4  Combine proves nothing. He puts on 20lbs and he is the same build as John Randall - un-drafted and didn't make the first team he tried out for. There have been too many 1st round busts  and un-drafted hall of famers to judge Sams NFL career yet. Before anyone  jumps on me for the Randall reference. I am not saying he will have the same  career.

pk_sea
pk_sea

@Michael39 @Robert96  Sure, why not? Hanging out with someone who is ghey is not going to make you ghey, unless you want to be. 

If you are in a general population shower, do you think Michael Sam will manhandle you, or are you afraid he won't get stiff looking at you?

The_truth_hurts
The_truth_hurts

@Zero1337 @The_truth_hurts  He might make an NFL roster, but I don't think a team will draft him. They saw how that Tebow circus went. Not saying this guy is Tebow, but it will draw the same amount of unwanted attention.

bohicamonster
bohicamonster

I think you might've missed @Michael39's point.

Zero1337
Zero1337

@Michael39 @The_truth_hurts @Zero1337  You think fans will be buying his uniform? No. Homosexual hipsters will be buying them to support his "heroism" in the face of "adversity". Honestly Sam has made millions for himself by coming out as gay. Hes already signed with multiple sports memorabilia companies and trading card companies.

Michael39
Michael39

@The_truth_hurts @Zero1337  


Because gay NFL fans are such a HUGE market?  Get real.  Whether he is a mid rounder, late rounder or undrafted steal will depend on whether the teams that can handle a media circus need someone at his position.