Michael Sam NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Rams DE

Darren PageFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03:  Michael Sam #52 of the Missouri Tigers reacts after Ben Grogan #19 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys misses a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter during the AT&T Cotton Bowl on January 3, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Michael Sam, DE, Missouri (HT: 6’2” WT: 261 lbs)

St. Louis Rams

Seventh Round: 249th Pick 

NFL Comparison: Trent Cole, OLB, Philadelphia Eagles

Combine Weigh-In
602026133 3/8"9 3/8"
Combine Workout
40-yd dash10-yd splitVertBroad3-ConeBench
4.911.7225 1/2"9'6"7.8017


  • Compact and thick build with a toned frame. 
  • Sufficient arm length despite lack of height. 
  • Comes off the ball with adequate acceleration. 
  • Prolific pass-rusher who is productive making plays in the backfield. 
  • Out-leverages blockers on a consistent basis by playing with low pad level into contact. 
  • Has a compressed frame that’s not easy for blockers to get their hands on to control. 
  • Quick to the corner as a speed-rusher and can take advantage of slow-footed tackles. 
  • Consistently rips through the hands of pass-blockers. 
  • Frequently beats pass-blockers on first contact by winning with his hands. 
  • Strong upper body to ward off blockers and split gaps working to the inside. 
  • Plays with resistance strength to stay on his pass-rushing arcs and not get wedged off. 
  • Can work to the inside of tackles and into the backfield to disrupt running plays. 
  • Has experience in a defense that played from multiple fronts and varied techniques.


  • Rigid body type with especially stiff ankles and knees. 
  • Play recognition not overly developed. 
  • Motor isn’t especially high. 
  • Lacks a variety of pass-rushing moves and can be predictable. 
  • Struggles to bend around blocks on the corner due to a lack of flexibility. 
  • Doesn’t spin back to the inside when pass-blockers mirror the speed rush on the corner. 
  • Not a power rusher who can compress the pocket from the outside despite a thick build and low pad level. 
  • Struggles to hold up at the line of scrimmage against drive blocks and doesn’t generate power to stand up blocks. 
  • Needs to play with more balance while engaged with blocks while keeping his shoulders square. 
  • Doesn’t consistently shed run blocks while containing plays on the edge. 
  • Highly ineffective and unproductive chasing down plays in pursuit. 
  • Does a poor job wrapping up as a tackler to finish plays. 
  • Plays flat-footed in coverage and struggles to move laterally or play route breaks. 
  • Only played on the left side of Missouri’s defense, little experience playing from the right side.



Collegiate Statistics

Personal Notes

  • Was ranked as the 75th overall defensive end prospect in the ESPN 150 as a 3-star recruit out of Hitchcock, Texas. 
  • Decommitted from Iowa State after the departure of Gene Chizik and signed with Missouri. 
  • Named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. 
  • Became the second unanimous All-American in Missouri Tigers football history in 2013.

Ratings Chart

Graph made at nces.com


As one of the most productive pass-rushers in the country as a senior, Michael Sam has garnered accolades and attention as a draft prospect.  Specific athletic limitations including a lack of flexibility and a lack of optimal size are concerning. 

Sam also isn’t a multi-dimensional rusher despite the high number of sacks.  He still projects as a pass-rush specialist in the NFL because his prospects as a run defender are even direr.  For 4-3 defenses looking for depth at end or a rotational rusher for third downs, Michael Sam makes sense.

Draft Projection: Fifth Round