Michael Sam: Is he ready for the NFL

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The NFL is a close-knit group and Michael Sam may have to learn that very quickly. Whether you realize it or not, making it to the NFL is very difficult. Out of every 100,000 High School Seniors only 215 ever make it to an NFL roster. That’s only 0.2%!!

That’s highly unlikely.

What are your chances of being on a plane with a drunken pilot? 117 to 1.  Odds of winning an academy award? 11,500 to 1. Odds of dating a millionaire? 215 to 1. All better odds than making it to the NFL. So its obvious we are talking about a very select group of individuals. Now that being said and putting aside all of the controversy regarding Michael Sam and his sexual preferences, what do the numbers say? Is he good enough to be a succesful player in the NFL?

Just the Numbers

Most of the coverage regarding Michael Sam has been about whether the NFL is ready for an openly gay player but I think the more pertinent question is Michael Sam ready for the NFL? Most scouts had Michael Sam initially going in the 3rd to 4th round, so what caused him to slide all the way to the bottom of the 7th round? To put it simply his numbers at the NFL Combine. Whether you believe his homosexuality had anything to do with his slide or not the stats and combine numbers don’t justify him being drafted any higher than the 7th round. Lets look at some of his measurables. Michael Sam is 6′ 2 and 261 lbs his numbers at the combine are as follows:

  • 40 Yard Dash – 4.91
  • Bench Press – 17 reps
  • Vertical Jump – 25.5 inches
  • Broad Jump – 114 inches
  • 3 code shuttle – 7.8 seconds
  • 20 yard shuttle – 4.7 seconds

Now lets compare that with little known line backer, Kevin Pierre-Louis 6’1 232 lbs and drafted in the 4th round by the Seattle Seahawks.

  • 40 Yard Dash – 4.46
  • Bench Press – 28 reps
  • Vertical Jump – 39 inches
  • Broad Jump – 128 inches
  • 3 cone shuttle – 6.92 seconds
  • 20 yard shuttle – 4.02 seconds


Now some may say, ” Who cares about the measurables it’s all about whether you can deliver on the field.” Well that maybe true so lets look at Michael Sams’s most productive year, 2013 and compare it to Kevin Pierre-Louis (6’1 225 lbs) most productive year also 2013.

  • 31 Solo tackles
  • 19 tackles for a loss
  • 11.5 sacks
  • 2 forces fumbles
  • 0 ints

How does that compare with KPL?

  • 67 solo tackles
  • 10.5 tackles for a loss
  • 5 sacks
  • 1 int

Again Michael’s numbers are just not up to par. Now granted he does have more sacks than Kevin Pierre-Louis who was one of the fastest linebackers in the entire draft but even when you compare him with other linebackers such as Jeremiah George (5′ 11 219 lbs) who were just as slow in the 40 yard dash clocking coming in at 4.91 seconds the measurables and productivity their numbers are still better than Michael Sam.

  • Bench Press – 28 reps
  • Vertical Jump – 33 inches
  • Broad Jump – 116 inches
  • 83 solo tackles
  • 12 tackles for a loss
  • 3.5 sacks
  • 2 Ints
  • 3 Forced Fumbles



So after looking at the raw numbers its clear that Michael Sam is too slow to play outside linebacker in the NFL and too small to play defensive end. He doesn’t show much explosiveness off the line as indicated by his broad jump measurement and furthermore doesn’t have the power to take on blockers as indicated by his low bench press rep count. He does show a lot of determination and works hard and undoubtedly is an overachiever.

I admire his courage in not being afraid to stand out but the greatest determining factor in the NFL is talent.  All in all Michael Sam will have to out work and out will his competition because its apparent that the talent just is not there.

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Tags: Michael Sam Missouri Tigers NFL Draft

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