If the NFL's first openly gay draft prospect is trying to become its first openly gay player, Michael Sam might have some work to do.
The former Missouri defensive end's measurables at the NFL Scouting Combine didn't exactly thrill the scouting community, and it didn't take long for former scout and NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah to hear what that could mean for Sam.
"The number everybody keeps talking about is the 25.5 inch vertical. That is way down there. That is not good for an offensive lineman. That shows you a lack of explosiveness, which is going to scare a lot of people off," Jeremiah said on "NFL AM." "We talk about the importance of the combine vs. the pro day. He needs to jump better than that at his pro day or I think it's a real chance, you're talking about (a) seventh-round pick, possibly even going undrafted. He does have some good tape. I think he's a good football player. But when you don't really have the overall athleticism teams are looking for, and you don't really have a true position, which we've talked about before, it makes it tough."
NFL Network's Steve Wyche said he has been told there is a chance Sam could go undrafted, as well.
Along with a poor vertical jump, Sam ran a 4.91 40-yard dash, which ranked tied for 18th among 42 defensive linemen who participated in the 40 in Indianapolis. At 6-1 and 260 pounds, he lacks the size to play an every-down defensive end role in any scheme. More likely, Sam figures to be a third-down specialist at the next level, where he can pass rush exclusively without his lack of size being exposed by a power rushing attack.
Prior to the combine, Sam had been projected as high as a third- to fifth-round draft pick, although an anonymous NFL general manager told mmqb.si.com, just days after Sam announced he is gay, that Sam is an overrated player and didn't believe he would be drafted.
The NFL draft is May 8-10. Missouri's pro day, where Sam's next performance for NFL scouts could shape his football future, is March 6.