2014 NFL Draft: More First Round Prospects for the Green Bay Packers

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Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly (10) is brought down by Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52). Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Michael Sam – Outside Linebacker, Missouri, 6-2, 255 (4.74)

Sam was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. The junior had 19 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.

At one point, he seemed to be a sure-fire top-ten pick going into the NFL draft, but Sam’s draft stock has been slipping as of late.

The college defensive end is too small to play the position in the pros, so many have projected him as a 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level. However, there are some concerns about his speed and ability to move in space as an NFL linebacker.

On top of this, Sam had a mediocre showing against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. The Missouri defensive end lacked discipline in containing the pocket and was often stonewalled by the bigger Sooner offensive linemen.

At times, Sam looked dominant at the collegiate level. He plays with a reckless style that is appealing to a team looking for an impact player on defense. He just lacks consistency.

It’s these concerns that may push Sam out of the first round. However, Sam may win back some favor if he posts impressive numbers at the NFL Combine.

If he proves he has the athleticism to transition to outside linebacker, then his draft stock will rise and he’ll justify a first round selection.