Christian Sam, LB, Arizona State
Draft Prospect Outlook:
Somewhat speedy run-and-chase linebacker who possesses the strength to deliver a big pop upon impact. Lacking in coverage despite his athletic talents. Best as free-roaming run-stopper.
A product of Allen, Texas, Christian Sam played in 12 games as a reserve in 2014 as a freshman before becoming one of the Pac-12's top young linebackers as a sophomore in 2015. He had 98 tackles, second-most on the team, and showed an impressive combination of size (6-foot-2, 237 pounds) and athleticism. It looked as though Sam would become a breakout star in 2016, but he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the season opener. In 2017 as a fourth-year junior, Sam made good on his promise with a Pac-12-best 127 tackles, including 9.5 for loss with three sacks. He accomplished this even though he sat out the team's bowl game. Sam was the only player who averaged more than 10 tackles per game in the league. He played a lot of snaps last season, which should help some concerns about his durability. Sam has good range and versatility for an inside backer, but has only played the position in two full seasons. - Chris Karpman