Mike Mayock thinks Michael Sam’s a 3rd- to 5th-rounder

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The NFL was quick to come out with a statement, saluting the courage of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.

And now, the lead draft analyst of the league’s own network is on the record saying Sam should be a mid-round pick.

“I watched the tape and saw him at the Senior Bowl and have a pretty good feel for him, and my take is he’s a third- to fifth-round pick,’’ NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said, via Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News. “If I were a team, I’d hope that I would look at him and say, ‘OK, this is what he is [as a player] and draft him in that range if he’s available.’ I think some teams are going to say, ‘Hey, I give the kid credit for coming out. I’d like a tough-minded individual like that in my locker room.’

“But I think there will be other teams that are going to look at it and say, ‘Do I want that distraction in my locker room?’’’

Mayock said he thinks the story will be overblown, much in the same way the Manti Te’o fake dead girlfriend thing was last year at the combine. Of course, Mayock seems far more comfortable talking Xs and Os than sociology, so his football evaluation was what he was basing today’s opinion on.

At 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds, Sam lacks prototype size to play defensive end, and might not be fluid enough to play linebacker, and drop into coverage. He’s a pass-rusher (who had 10.5 sacks last year), and that has value.

“He’s an explosive kid who’s much better going forward than he is going backward,’’ Mayock said. “His size would dictate he’s got to be a linebacker, but I don’t think his physical skill-set dictates that, and therein lies the rub. He’s got some ability coming off the edge and chasing a quarterback. However, I don’t think he has an ability to stand up and play linebacker.

“Depending on your scheme and what you’re looking for, he’s not an every-down play. The best case for me is he’s a four-team special teams player and a situational pass-rusher. It just depends on where you value that kind of guy.’’

And whether you think your locker room and leadership is stable enough to handle the attention that will come with it.

61 responses to “Mike Mayock thinks Michael Sam’s a 3rd- to 5th-rounder

  1. Guy reminds me of Brandon Graham. Tweener DE who might not be quick enough for a 3-4 OLB. I’d take a shot on him in the 4th.

  2. Mayock is pretty damned good at what he does, he has a much better feel for what a guy can do at the next level than the fabricated “expert” Mel Kiper.

  3. I saw this kid play a few games for Missouri, and he was really good. Whichever team drafts him is going to get a player with a motor that never stops.

  4. If he’s still sat there in the seventh round, why not take a chance on the guy, plenty of teams who could certainly use help on special teams

  5. What does Mike Mayock think about the NFL violating just about every HR law in America by some scout asking if Sam has a girlfriend? If my prospective employer ask me that… I think I’m calling a lawyer.

  6. Dwight Freeney: 6-1 268 lbs, 12 year career, 108 sacks, 43 FF, 7 time pro bowler, 3 time all pro and told he wasn’t the prototypical size all the way up to the draft

    The entire Seahawks offense isn’t prototypical. Short QB, undrafted and slow WR’s, power back….

    Give me a break with this prototypical garbage. Half the league is built on guys that shouldn’t have made it because they weren’t the proper height & weight. Drew Brees, Wes Welker….hell even Richard Sherman wasn’t prototypical….until he was.

  7. Why does every news and sports media outlet have to have wall to wall stories about a guy being gay?

    I don’t care if you are gay. Just shut up and play football.

    I’m coming out of the closet.
    I’m a heteorsexual male.
    Does that matter to you?

  8. Not every back-up on every team in the NFL is better than Tebow either, but teams didn’t want to deal with the distraction that comes with the territory.

  9. Prototypical is code word for intolerance. Lacks size is also code word for intolerance. All joking aside, the problem for Mr Sam is everyone will make excuses for him IF he fails and its hard to get better if you don’t know if you’re doing something wrong.

  10. You can easily tell who the true die-hard NFL fans are because Mayock is the best in the business when it comes to all the draft stuff. Those who say “what does he know,” “Who’s this guy” can go to the 4 letter and listen to count chocula babble on with generic watered down info found on any basic site.

  11. So your talking about an undersized mid to late round DE who’s going to end up as nothing more then a special teamer, the question is, is this guy really worth the circus he’s going to bring with him? We’re talking Tebow circus times ten, If I’m a GM I just couldn’t see myself putting my team through all the drama it will endure over a guy who might not be nothing more then a fringe player.

  12. He’s Sam Montgomery. Same positives and negatives.
    How’d that 3rd round pick last season work out for the Texans?

  13. Vikings take him in the 5th. Silenced doubters about anti gay talk. He becomes a good special teamer

  14. The difference between Freeney and Sam is that Freeney at that size had incredible speed and agility.

    Sam, from what i have read is slow (4.7) and stiff.

    Lets see how he does that the combine.

    Also, he had 9 of those sacks in 3 games against sub-par teams.

  15. You think you are sick of hearing about Michael Sams already? We will be hearing about his entire life for the next ten years. Think you hear about Kluwe too much? There will be five posts a day here about Sams for the next 11 months.

    When and where he is drafted– all because he is hsxl. His summer camp dramas. How much preseason playing time he gets- all because he is hsxl. When he gets cut– it will be because he is hsxl.

  16. These are the first cogent comments about the NFL future of Mike Sam that has come thu all the media BS. The fact is, that like most NFL rookies, he has a lot of questions that have to be answered before he plays on the next level.

    Based on what Mayock saw, he looks more like a 5th rounder than a 3rd rounder, and closer to a 7th rounder IMHO. One the plus side, in a couple of years he might turn into the next Cameron Wake. On the negative side he might be merely one of those tweeners who litter NFL camps in July, and either make the bottom of the roster as special teamers, or fade away completely.

    Even though there have been a number of so called “tweeners” who have been very successful, like James Harrison and Wake, it took both several years to reach the kind of productivity that made them special. Mayock DID hit the nail on the head when he stated that the way into the NFL for Sam will be via special teams and situational defenses. Wherever he goes, he’s likely not going to be an impact player for his first few years in the league.

    So his sexual orientation aside, those are the football facts that await Michael Sam. For strong teams with stable organizations, what he does in his private life won’t be an issue. However the reality is that there will be some teams who just won’t want to deal with the media circus that will come with him. If he’s ends up being a good player its just another reason why teams with strong leadership always have an advantage.

    BTW-Being the team that eventually selects Sam, it could be a huge marketing bonanza. From what I gather the Gay community is an untapped market for the NFL. One with lots of $’s to spend

  17. Did anybody watch the Auburn game against Missouri ?Missouri’s defense sucks! Why would any good team draft anybody from that defense.

  18. If Mike Mayock’s lips are moving he’s lying. So glad CBS bought TNF so we don;t have to hear this wind bag any longer

  19. Is this going to be Jonathan Martin 2.0, where he realizes he’s not that good of an NFL player and blames everyone else on the team and the organization for his lack of ability through a discrimination claim and lawsuit?

  20. I will automatically become a fan of whatever team’s GO or owner states when asked about Sam, “Don’t care, he’s no one special, just one of hundreds of college kids we have to consider to draft”. QUIT SUCH ING UP TO THE MEDIA LIKE THE PACKERS, EAGLES AND GIANTS.

  21. Miami should draft him in RD 5 or 6.

    They need any kind of help and have to improve their image to a more people friendly one.

    Plus, fans will respect the team more again.

  22. First Team All America, SEC Player of the Year, plays rush end (premium position in the NFL) and he’s projected that low? That doesn’t sound right.

    After QB and CB, DE’s who can rush, demand the most attention in the draft. It’ll be interesting to see if the GMs are as dumb as that.

  23. The important thing is we have at least 200 articles about a guy who will be out of the league in a year if he’s drafted at all, simply because some aspect of his personal life happens to be politically in vogue at the moment.

  24. On the one hand, I’m psyched that Sam had the guts to announce this to the world.

    On the other, I’m cringing at the inevitability of people who don’t even follow football crucifying the NFL for not drafting him 1st overall.

  25. Who is going to be The Guy, that says The Thing, that allows the media and Gay Rights Activists to all rush toward him so they can express their total intolerance for his intolerance? C’mon! Who’s it gonna be?

  26. you’re gay?Ok but can you tackle?Can you stop the run?Can you run down an opposing reciever?Thats all I care about

  27. The Skins need a pass rusher,I hope we take him in the 4th round and hope maybe he can become our version of Robert Mathis or Elvis Dumervil.

  28. I think Michael Sam will be a good NFL player. Prototypical size? All I know is that he’s about 3 inches taller than Elvis Dumervil (who also ran a 4.7 40), and Dumervil worked out pretty well. Also, he’s one inch shorter than Cameron Wake. Both of those guys were doubted and released early after productive collegiate careers, but became stars later.

  29. Even before his announcement It was understood the guy was probably not suited to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme – that eliminates about half of the league. Then factor in that no mock draft had him rated higher than a 3rd rounder. It seems like teams will be unfairly criticized for not selecting him.

  30. He’ll need:

    – a good, veteran locker room that accepts him as a teammate and understands how the media spotlight works, i.e. style trumps substance;

    – a team that puts a structure around him that keeps the inevitable media frenzy to a minimum; perhaps 1 media conferences a week with no exceptions (not even for Peter King or Michael Strahan !!!). In this regard, it would also help if he landed in one of the leagues smaller venues rather than one of the New York freak shows….

    – and a lot of patience with the inevitable morons he will encounter both on and off the field. In the end, he brings a skill very much in demand in the NFL as a pass rusher; if he gets to the QB people no one will care about his sexual orientation.

    The downside if he does not play well is tricky; people who know football will know this, but the media bandwagon types could make things difficult if a team does not play him or cuts him….In a perfect world this should not be in issue but in this one it is…..

    My guess is he’ll get a fair shot from a team because he has a coveted skill; and the hope is that that team will deal with him fairly, which may take some guts.

  31. The media will lambaste the league if he falls past the 5th round….it will be front page news if he isn’t drafted….then if a team does pick him up, the media will be all over that team constantly.

    Nope…not a distraction at all. Welcome aboard.

  32. I have no problem with him one way or another, and would draft him based on his ability just as I would anyone else.
    But now that he has come out, and if he’s drafted, shouldn’t he be asked to shower in another area rather than with his teammates?
    The only analogy I can make is if I were allowed to shower with a bunch of naked women.
    I am serious about this and wonder what others think. If you think it’s not necessary, please explain why my anaglogy is wrong. Thanks.

  33. One thing — I heard a former NFL scout say that it was common knowledge that this kid was gay, and that others are, too, including some NFL players who have not come out.
    This scout’s opinion was he came out for one of two reasons:
    One: he didn’t want someone else to leak it, or Two: It’ll help his possibility of being drafted because the pressure will be on the NFL for someone to draft him or they’ll be open to criticism that they don’t want gays in the NFL.
    I think those are two reasons which are possibilites to explain why he came out now instead of waiting until the draft was over.

  34. If he can play ball he WILL be respected on the field, but the room will clear when his teammates see him kiss his partner. Also, he may have one SEC defensive player of the year, but he is far from the best defensive player in the Conference. He’s no Clowney and he probably wouldn’t even be a starter at Bama or LSU.

  35. Hey I’m straight!! Arent I brave? Give me a break!! Thats what all straight guys want in the locker room,some guy checking him out. Hey but who cares what they think? This country is becoming a JOKE!

  36. Patfranken it’s not as much as you would think, LBGT community combined is <6% of the population in the US or ~19 million people of a population ~314 million. Far from being a huge untapped market but it would add some.

  37. Why does everyone associate this type of story with Miami?

    Jon Martin isn’t gay. He wasn’t bullied.

    No connection. Other than idiots who run their mouths but have no idea about the details of a story.

  38. I’d be happy if the Bengals took a late 4th rounder on him. Our rotating defensive end scheme could take advantage of his skills.

  39. What’s sad is that there would be no question of distraction if media would just act mature enough to behave themselves regarding him.

  40. You don’t become SEC Defensive Player of the Year and 1st team all american by accident. Lets check some other recent SEC-DPOY’s: Jarvis Jones, Morris Claiborne, Patrick Peterson, Rolando McClain, Eric Berry, Glenn Dorsey, Demeco Ryans. All these guys were first rounders except for Ryans (2nd Round). Sure, not all these guys panned out as expected, but by looking at this list, SEC DPOY means something in the NFL and is more deserving than a 4th or 5th round pick. People are definitely sleeping on Sams.

  41. Mayo I has made major blunders just like every other talking head. Prime example: “In three years, Robert Ayers will be the best player from this draft.” Ayers wasn’t in the top 75 best players from that draft and has been a marginal starter at best.

    Gil Brandt said Sam wasn’t in his top 100. He pointed out that 9 of his sacks came against teams with poor OLs and he was shut out by better OTs.

    I’m guessing Round 5 or 6. A 3-4 defense team will take a chance on him.

    I’m also betting that teams are singing Sam’s praises in the hope some other team takes him.

  42. I understand people comparing his size to other “non-prototypical” pass rushers. But in naming guys like CWake, Mathis, Freeney ,etc…your ignoring the hundreds, literraly hundreds of non-prototypical guys that didn’t make it.

    The odds arent in his favor to be star….doesn’t mean it wont happen though. He’s already shown something mentally that no one has before him (in the NFL) so it’s definitely something he can build off.

    Good luck Michael

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