Michael Sam’s stock is falling in the eyes of NFL Draft experts because of a poor performance at the combine.
The NFL Combine is a camp where prospective draft prospects go through a variety of drills that tests their physical attributes. Basically, they run and jump and lift weights in front of scouts.
Sam, who’s looking to become the first openly gay NFL player, disappointed in these drills.
“He clocked a pedestrian 4.91 in the 40, while also posting marginal marks in the vertical jump (25.5 inches), broad jump (9-6) and three-cone drill (7.80 seconds),” ex-NFL scout Bucky Brooks wrote on NFL.com. “Given his limited game/athleticism, Sam’s draft stock likely will take a significant plunge following this combine showing.”
He’s the type of player we see every year — the highly productive college player who slips in the draft because he’s not a great raw athlete.
He’s great at football, but isn’t particularly big or fast or strong.
Because of that, his stock is falling.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay say he has fallen to the sixth-round:
“I thought he needed to run between 4.65 and 4.75 seconds in the 40-yard dash to maintain the third- to fifth-round grade I had on him, but he didn’t run well, at 4.91, and didn’t bench well or jump that high either. Sam was more of a pass-rushing specialist coming in, and to lack explosiveness with that label hurts him.”
Despite only having a tangential relationship to football, the combine matters a lot to NFL people. Guys plummet in the draft all the time because of bad combines.
The unfortunate end result of all of this is that we may never know how coming out affected Sam’s draft stock. If he slips to the seventh round (or out of the draft entirely), his combine performance will be the first thing people point to.
There’s now a plausible excuse not to draft him (at least in the eyes of NFL teams), which makes deciphering the NFL’s reaction to his announcement even more complicated.
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