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Matt Shepard

Shep's Take: More To Prove

 

There were a few storylines that dominated the NFL Draft this past weekend. Fair to say we've seen and heard enough about Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy winner out of Texas A&M, drafted by the Browns with the 22nd overall pick. We've also been inundated with Michael Sam's emotional embrace with his boyfriend, after the SEC Defensive Player of the Year was drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams.

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How these two perform remains to be seen, but both players feel they should have been drafted higher. Many thought Manziel would be the first off the board, but he waited in the "green room" for over two hours. 

Sam got the call he was waiting for, but it came Saturday as the 249th player taken, in round seven, much later than he thought. He was quoted afterwards saying, "From last season alone, as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and an All-American, I should have been drafted in the first three rounds."

What?

So because you're an All-American, you should be drafted in either the first, second or third round? Maybe Sam's football skill set doesn't translate to the NFL. He was projected as a 7th rounder or undrafted free agent because he lacked explosive burst off the edge and isn't very strong. 

Here's the report: "Average hip flexibility and snap -- struggles clearing his hips at the top of his rush and trimming the corner. Adequate anchor vs. the run. Is late to disengage from blocks. Does not strike with authority. Inconsistent tackler. Late bloomer who could require time to adapt to the pro game. Poor combine showing -- bench-pressed 225 pounds just 17 times, recorded a 7.8-second 3-cone drill and posted an abysmal 25 1/2-inch vertical jump."

There have been a ton of All-American players who were disappointed on draft day. Michigan's David Molk won the Rimington Award, handed out to the best center in college football (so the entire country, not just one conference) and he too was an All-American, yet he was a seventh round choice. Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones was an All-American, but lasted until the sixth round just like Bowling Green's Chris Jones. Kellen Moore was first team All-American, but was NEVER drafted. Neither was Wayne Daniels, an All-American from TCU, who like Sam is 6'2", 250 lbs, but Daniels never got a call on draft day and instead he now plays in the Professional Indoor Football League. Oh and by the way, Chad Lavalais was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, National Defensive Player of the Year and helped LSU win a national title in 2004 and wasn't drafted until the fifth round.

Sam has already taken the league and nation by storm. His jersey sales are second only to Manziel among rookies so far. But while most players are happy to fulfill a dream, Sam is proclaiming he's been done wrong because he's gay.

Maybe it has nothing to do with his sexuality and more to do with his football ability.

After all, even the team that drafted him passed him over nine times this weekend.

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