Of the 15 players who took part in Missouri’s pro day Thursday, Michael Sam perhaps had as much to prove as anyone after a disappointing effort at the NFL Combine in February.
“Mike was not happy with his performance at the Combine,” said one of Sam’s agents, Joe Barkett. “He knew that his numbers were OK, but that he could do a lot better.”
Sam, who is set to become the NFL’s first openly gay player, did not address the media Thursday. But on a day in which personnel from all 32 teams descended upon Columbia, Sam apparently let his actions do the talking, as his other agent, Cameron Weiss, said Sam improved his 40-yard dash time from 4.91 to 4.69, his vertical jump from from 25 1/2 inches to 30 inches and his bench press from 17 reps to 19 reps.
Perhaps making his improvement in the 40-yard dash more pronounced is the fact he ran the time despite tweaking his hamstring, which kept him from running it a second time. Sam, however, proceeded to take part in position drills in an effort to show teams the explosiveness that helped him rack up 11 1/2 sacks as a senior and win SEC defensive player of the year.
“I would say that formally and informally, he’s probably met with close to 25 teams already,” Barkett said.
Prior to Missouri’s pro day, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, who once had Sam pegged as a possible third-round pick, said in a conference call last week that Sam would likely go in the sixth or seventh round.