For NFL Draft prospect Michael Sam it certainly hasn't been an easy road, but for the defensive standout from Missouri he tackled his Pro-Day with success.
While he still has not put up the type of metrics that would make someone stop what they are doing and watch, Sam has improved in all drills while receiving just as much or more attention than a number one overall pick. .
NFL teams are becoming more critical of a player’s character over the past few years, and this bodes well for Sam. He has been under incredible pressure and media focus since divulging the fact that he is gay. For someone to, first of all, perform at their job, but also get better at their job while facing so many obstacles is beyond belief.
Sam has not vaulted himself into the top three rounds and has not transformed into a guaranteed superstar. What he has done is lessened some of the worry people had about his ability and secured his potential as just a football player.
The metrics from Sam’s pro day are 4.72s 40-yard dash (down from 4.91s at the combine), 19 reps of 225-pound bench press (up from 17), and 35 inch vertical jump (up from 25.5 inches). No one is going to marvel at the core numbers. Improvement from the combine shows his dedication and potential for his craft.
He also gets the chance to perform, and improve, again, at individual workouts for teams before the draft. Sam has shown that he can do it with pads on in college, so now the question will be if that will translate to the NFL.
While that question cannot be answered until after the draft, NFL head coaches and executives will look optimistically at a player, like Sam, that improves on a regular basis and has high character.
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