DE MICHAEL SAM, MISSOURI

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6’2” – 255 lbs. – 4.75e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2009: Redshirt
2010: 24 – 7.0 – 3.5, 2 QBH, 2 FF, 1 INT, 1 BK
2011: 29 – 3.0 – 1.5, 4 QBH, 1 PD, 1 INT
2012: 22 – 7.0 – 4.5, 4 QBH, 2 FF, 1 FR (TD)

OVERVIEW:

Redshirted in 2009, then became a productive member of Missouri’s defensive line rotation in 2010, a role he reprised in a less notable fashion as a redshirt sophomore in 2011. In 2012, started nine of twelve contests and submitted his most efficient season to date, although he has dramatically improved as a senior in 2013, playing left end opposite Kony Ealy.

STRENGTHS:

•    Potential is considerable given improvement as a full-time starter.
•    Does a nice job of scraping down the line while supporting the run.
•    Effective at knifing into the backfield with one-gap responsibilities.
•    Violent with very active hands and feet, possesses an impressive motor.
•    Bends the edge well as a pass rusher, maintaining a low center of gravity.
•    Draws a lot of attention from opposing blockers, can split double teams.
•    Rangy player who will pursue the play through the snap, even on passes.
•    Does a great job of re-establishing the line of scrimmage versus the run.
•    Impressive closing speed to chase down quarterbacks and ballcarriers.
•    Has played inside as Missouri’s three-technique in a limited capacity.

WEAKNESSES:

•    Only one season of high-level production, only became a starter in 2012.
•    A little bit shorter than you’d like, with a stocky, maxed-out build.
•    More of a bull/speed rusher at this point who needs more rush moves.
•    Needs to do a better job of making tackles when given the opportunity.
•    Instincts need some work, occasionally gets himself out of position.
•    Hasn’t been asked to stand up and play linebacker in odd fronts.

SUMMARY:

Sam is a little bit shorter than a prototypical pass rusher in today’s NFL, but he has emerged as an explosive, disruptive player in both facets of the game, as one of the most effective run defenders in the draft at his position and a highly productive pass rusher as well. He needs to develop additional rush moves, but should be able to capitalize on what is a relatively weak crop of rushers outside of the draft’s elite prospects. RD 2

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