Michael Sam, Kony Ealy improve 40 times at Missouri pro day
Missouri pass rushers Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, the 2013 co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year, were the main attractions Thursday at a crowded pro day workout.
All 32 teams were accounted for at Missouri's pro day in Columbia on Thursday, when pass rusher Michael Sam got his chance at a redo of his disappointing workout at the Scouting Combine last month.
After completing one 40-yard dash in an unofficial 4.73 seconds, Sam was sidelined from his second attempt by a right hamstring strain. He did go on to post a 30-inch vertical, a five-inch improvement from Indianapolis, and gutted his way through linebacker drills.
The 40 time is faster than he posted in Indianapolis (4.91) but leaves many questions unanswered for a player likely being evaluated as a niche pass rusher who would play only a part-time role in the NFL, in addition to special teams. The linebacker drills were the most important of the day for Sam as he attempts to show NFL teams running 3-4 base defenses that he's a potential stand-up pass rusher despite struggling with that transition at the Senior Bowl.
Between the Senior Bowl and the combine, Sam announced he is gay, and he is expected to become the first openly gay male athlete to play in the NFL.
Sam and defensive end Kony Ealy, who had a strong session in Indianapolis highlighted by a three-cone drill result that matched the time of wriggly Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, shared the spotlight Thursday but it was Ealy who most impressed scouts.
Sam was up two pounds -- to 263 -- from his combine weight, where he posted below-average results including a 4.91 40-yard dash, 26 1/2-inch vertical, 9-5 broad jump, 7.8 three-cone and 17 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.
He did 19 reps Thursday in the center of a considerable gallery of observers.
Sam is currently projected as a mid- to late-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com, and the No. 183-ranked prospect overall.
Ealy ran in the mid-4.6s on Thursday, a vast improvement over the 4.92 time from the combine. One report had Ealy timed at 4.57 seconds, which would be a personal record.
NFLDraftScout.com's No. 22 overall prospect, he could be in play as early as No. 10 to the Detroit Lions, where head coach Jim Caldwell could form a tag team of edge rushers in Ziggy Ansah and Ealy in the mold of his Colts tandem, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
The Chicago Bears (14) and Dallas Cowboys (16) would also be natural fits for Ealy. NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang projects Ealy to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 20, while fellow analyst Dane Brugler has him going to the Denver Broncos at No. 31 in their current Mock Drafts.
Wide receiver L'Damian Washington verified his sub-4.4 40 projections from NFLDraftScout.com with two sprints under 4.8 seconds.
According to NFL Network, every team aside from the Redskins were represented at the workouts.
As it turns out, 31 of 32 teams made it to Missouri Pro Day. The Redskins are the one that didn't get here.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 20, 2014
Follow Jeff Reynolds on Twitter @ReynoldsJD
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