Michael Sam (DE), Missouri
6'2" | 261 lbs.
48 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 19 TFLs, 2 FF, 1FR, 2 pass DEF
What scouts are saying:
"Considering his size, Sam is surprisingly effective in run defense. Can slip gaps due to his quickness to penetrate and make a big play behind the line of scrimmage and shows good power, knee bend to anchor and create a pile when run at. Good awareness, quickness and balance to recognize and defeat cut-blocks." (Rob Rang, CBS Sports)
"Has enough foot agility to deal with cut blocks. Will work through gaps more like a running back than a defensive end — has good patience in waiting for things to open up at the line. Gets his sacks more through effort than technique, though the effort is clear and consistent." (Doug Farrar, Sports Illustrated)
"Lacks burst and acceleration off the edge to get a step on blockers and finish. Sack production results from effort and production flushed to him and is not creatively produced with savvy pass-rush moves, speed, power or bend. Average hip flexibility and snap -- struggles clearing his hips at the top of his rush and trimming the corner." (Nolan Nawrocki, NFL.com)
"As far as his announcement and the fact that he’ll be the first openly gay man in the NFL, I spoke with one NFL source who told me that it shouldn’t affect his actual stock because it obviously has little impact on his ability on the field. Each team’s front office will likely ask its team captains to judge their locker room and see just how their teammates would honestly deal with a gay player in it" (Eric Galko, Sporting News)
Fit for the Bears:
Michael Sam made waves in February when he came out as gay shortly before the NFL Scouting Combine. That means he’ll be the first openly gay player in the NFL, and despite an ongoing debate, most scouts don’t think that will have an impact on his draft status. After being named 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Sam’s perceived lack of size means he’ll more than likely be making the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker at the next level. That bodes well for any chance of ending up on the Bears after an offseason that’s already seen the addition of three ends in free agency: Lamarr Houston, Willie Young, and Jared Allen. Sam prides himself on his pass rush ability, and if the Bears’ secondary and defensive tackle issues are adequately addressed by the mid-to-late rounds, he could make sense as someone who can get after the quarterback and shore up a linebacker core that was decimated by injury in 2013.