Heading into Missouri’s pro day, Michael Sam was under a lot of pressure to improve upon his incredibly disappointing pro day.
According to NFL Media Reporter Albert Breer of the NFL Network and NFL.com:
One NFC personnel executive termed his performance in Indy as "awful for an undersized pass rusher", and said he needed to show he's a "better and faster athlete" than he appeared to be there. A college scouting director added that it'd be vital that he show "good movement in the linebacker drills", in part because of his lack of ideal size.
While in Indy, Sam ran a 4.91 40-yard dash time with a 25.5 inch vertical jump and only benched 225 pounds 16 times. During his pro day, Michael Sam was able to improve upon each of those numbers to a limited degree.
The headline in Breer’s article says: “Michael Sam eliminates some concerns at pro day.”
Unfortunately, I don’t think Sam was able to do quite enough to really get himself where he needs to be in order to be drafted. This is unfortunate because I do think this guy can contribute on a NFL team as a special-teams guy or role player. But in order to justify the high profile and unprecedented circumstances he comes with, I think Sam’s talent would have to speak significantly louder than any potential distraction GMs are bound to perceive with him.
At his pro day, Sam pulled his hamstring while running a 40-yard dash but still managed to improve his time to a 4.75. He also went for 16 to 19 reps on the bench and improved his vertical jump to 30 inches.
These numbers, though improved, are not enough to really bolster his draft stock, let alone quell concerns about his being an athlete.
It seems ominous for Sam’s draft potential to give critics of his so much ammunition in terms of measurables and athletic potential, but it seems the likely reaction teams will have here.
So, did Sam truly eliminate concerns about his athleticism?