Browns among teams showing most interest in Michael Sam

Browns helmet training camp Stanley Daniels

In a story that will be bound to pick up steam as the 2014 NFL Draft nears, sources tell the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson that the Ravens, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns are showing the most interest in Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.

Sam was one of the more anticipated players to take to this winter’s NFL Combine, but turned in a sluggish workout where he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.91 seconds, had just a 25-inch vertical leap and bench pressed 225 pounds just 17 times. Sam did, however, improve on his numbers during his campus Pro Day workout at Missouri, running the 40-yard dash in 4.72 seconds, leaping 30 inches bench pressing 225 pounds 19 times.

As a senior with the Tigers, Sam amassed 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for losses and was named a first-team All-American and a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection. The 6-foot-2, 256-pound college defensive end struggled during the Senior Bowl during outside linebacker drills as he attempts to transition to a new position.

Given the NFL teams listed, it appears that Sam is pegged to fit in mostly as an edge rusher in a 3-4 scheme. Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, projects to be a third-day selection who will likely have to thrive on special teams to make a 53-man roster.

  • Pat Leonard

    He reminds me a lot of a Virginia Tech player who was a terror on the field during the Michael Vick era… Corey Moore. Moore was a great college player as a small-but-quick defensive end and had a really hard time translating to 3-4 OLB in the NFL and couldn’t stick in the league. I worry about that same situation for Michael Sam.

  • RGB

    Nice comparison.
    But, Corey Moore was an insufferable head case.
    I believe Sam’s attitude alone makes him a better bet to succeed.

  • Pat Leonard

    Interesting… I remember Moore being quirky/odd, but I don’t remember him being a headcase. At any rate, I didn’t think that was the reason he failed in the NFL… there are plenty of headcases who stick in the league for a long time because they can play (I’m looking at you, Cortland Finnegan and Steve Smith). Like Moore, Sam is a defensive end who needs to learn how to play in space. I’d love to see him succeed and I agree that he will come in with the right attitude, but I think It’s still a very tough transition.

  • RGB

    I like Sam. I just think we have more pressing needs.
    I wouldn’t consider him until at least the 5th round.

  • nj0

    So where is this guy expected to get drafted?

    I hate pushing back the draft. It’s really killing any interest I have in it. Another example of NFL overreach.

  • nj0

    To answer my own question by reading the article —- Sam has been projected to go anywhere in the draft from the third round to later rounds.

    We’re writing articles about potential 3rd rounders now?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Scott @ WFNY

    Are you going to pretend that Sam isn’t going to be a story regardless of where he gets drafted?

  • nj0

    We’re all stories.

  • nj0

    And for the record, I’m not criticizing WFNY. I just continue to be annoyed by the ridiculous, mostly pointless hype machine that is the NFL draft.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Uptick.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    If he’s good yes if he’s not no sexuality aside.

  • saggy

    i really want him to be in Cleveland, because they’re my favorite team. But I also would love for him to play in either NYC or SF or Oakland. Would be really great for the plight of gay athletes. Pretty soon, it will be a non-issue.

    I’m saying this with the idea that he will be a good player. If he stinks, I don’t want him.

  • saggy

    I’m truly curious about why the SEC defensive player of the year isn’t a higher pick, and why WFNY thinks he will have to “thrive on special teams to make a 53-man roster.”

    I mean, you’re the POY for the best conference in the country, and you can’t go in the first 3 rounds?

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    he was flat bad in the combine and benefitted greatly from a strong defense and kony ealy.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    i could be interested in sam in the 6th round or 7th but definitely not before and probably not even late. he doesn’t play a need position and is not especially athletic.

    do we really even want to burn a 6th rd pick on a guy who will be buried behind sheard, mingo, and winn? i think he’d have a hard time making the final browns roster.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Scott @ WFNY

    Initial thoughts for Sam were that he’d be a fringe first-rounder. Then the combine and Senior Bowl happened. Given his size, he’s hard to peg in the way of a position. He’s too small as compared to typical 4-3 defensive ends; he’s too slow as compared to most 3-4 outside rushers, and really struggled in space. Thus, when he ran a 4.9-second 40, many have him sliding into Day 3. I’m not a scout; just sharing what’s out there.
    Regarding why I feel he’ll have to thrive on special teams early on: The majority of defensive players picked in rounds 4-through-7 do have to rely on special teams to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. Sure, Sam excelled in one of the best conferences in the country, but he’s also average against the run, getting pushed around on the blocks. If a team uses a first- or second-day pick on him, then I think his chances improve. If he’s beyond the first 100 picks, things are a bit different in the way of team investment. A decent corollary is Nico Johnson. Kid played at Alabama, was drafted in the fourth round last year, played special teams for KC, played in the final game, did well, and will likely get a shot this season.

  • Garry_Owen

    And think of the bad press the Browns would get if he didn’t make the roster.

  • CB Everett

    Well, you can never have too many pass rushers!

  • mgbode

    he was considered a 3rd – 5th round pick on the good draft sites through the season. he got hype due to picking on weak OL teams that were getting beaten badly (so they had to pass) and overloaded on blocking Ealy (3 sacks each v. ArkieSt, Vandy, Florida).

    his bad measurables have now pushed him to 5th-7th status. maybe a team takes a chance on him in the 4th, but that’s about his ceiling based on the available information.

  • vespo09

    +1