Post Draft Scouting Report: Christian Sam, LB

Is Christian Sam the next Jerod Mayo? Some experts have compared the two and if that is the case, Patriots fans will be very happy.

 

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

I think most fans were at least thinking the Patriots might double up at the Linebacker position in the draft, and that is exactly what they did. There are some similarities to the two players, especially off field, but on the field their games are different and actually compliment each other well. So what does Sam bring to the table? Lets dive in and find out.

Sam was another guy I had in the big board series and this is what I had written about him prior to the draft:

While Sam might not have ideal height and length for the position, he is not small. Sam is quicker than fast. He is extremely intelligent and diagnoses and reacts to plays quicker than most, making him look even faster. He is built with a low center of gravity and does a nice job of playing through trash. Sam has good footwork and balance, looking smooth and comfortable playing in space. He is strong, with the ability to come up to the line of scrimmage to make plays. Sam is a reliable tackler as well. Obviously does not have ideal measurements for the position and it shows up on tape. He can be moved by bigger opponents and doesn’t have the arm length to disengage. He tries to avoid taking on blocks, which leads to being out of position on plays. He missed the entire 2016 due to injury. Grade: 4th/5th round

Like I said above, both Linebackers have some similarities to their game. Both are very smart, with great football instincts and are solid tacklers. They both play with the passion and toughness you look for in Linebackers. After watching more tape, one area that he excels in is his ability chase and mirror in the pass game. This is the exact opposite of what Bentley brings to the table and this is why the pick of Sam makes sense. Sam does not have elite speed, but he reads and reacts to plays quickly and you see him make plays all over the field. He seems to find that extra gear when he needs to to. While Sam may not have the same pop and length to take on blockers like Bentley, he is willing to come up and fill gaps. Where Sam struggles is with his length. Like I wrote prior to the draft, he tends to try to go around blocks rather than through and it gets him out of position. He looks more comfortable when chasing route runners rather than playing in zones. Sam seems to get impatient when in zones and may take himself out of position. He does struggle with length and has a hard time disengaging from blocks.

What Does The Tape Show?

In this first clip, you see Sam quickly diagnose the screen play and while his timed speed wasn’t great at the Combine, he certainly showed great acceleration to get to and pick off this ball.

Here you see Sam’s lateral agility and quick reaction time. He covers a lot of ground while shuffling his feet. When you watch this and watch Bentley, you see the difference in their athleticism. Like Evan said in his original tweet, Sam does make a bad initial read, but shows the recovery skills to get back into position and make the play.

This is where Bentley wins and Sam struggles. He doesn’t have the length or the hand use to shed the block on this play and it is an easy run for a touchdown.

 

Final Thoughts:

There was some chatter about Sam to the Patriots before the draft and when you watch the tape, it makes sense. He is what Patriots fans were looking for. He has the instincts and play speed to carry TE’s and RB’s in the passing game. He is a very good chase and tackle type prospect who can make plays all over the field. He might not have the measureables that the Patriots typically go for, but he is tough and can make plays in the run and pass game. He will need to rely on his defensive line to keep him clean more than Bentley, but if they do, he can make a ton of plays. I have heard comparisons to Jerod Mayo and I think that is a very good one. I think Mayo took on blocks a little better, but Sam probably has more athleticism in coverage. I also heard a draft expert (sorry, can’t remember which one, but give credit where do if you know) call him the mid round version of Roquan Smith. Obviously not in the same tier, but their strengths and weaknesses and how they play the game are similar, maybe just not as good for Sam. When you think about the two LB’s as a package, their games compliment each other well. Obviously, Sam ended up being a 6th round pick, so there is no guarantee he even makes the team, but this LB corp was not very good and an overhaul might be in order.

 

 

15 Responses to “Post Draft Scouting Report: Christian Sam, LB”

  1. TommyG says:

    People complaining about LB depth but I’m looking at potential 2018 LB vs 2016 LB and there isn’t that much of a drop off of healthy.
    2016.
    Hightower
    Collins (eventually traded)
    McCellin
    Freeney
    Mingo
    Roberts

    2018 (potentially)
    Hightower
    Van Noy
    Langi
    M. Flowers
    Sam
    Bentley

  2. Michael says:

    Nice concise report. Glad to see the offsetting skill strengths as “platoon defenders” are not strange to NE.

  3. Michael says:

    Nice CV concise report. Glad to see the offsetting skill strengths as “platoon defenders” are not strange to NE.

  4. macspak says:

    How this for a trade that might be more than just for fun:

    Trade Shaq Mason, since they won’t resign him at the exorbitant prices now being paid to Guards, for a top pick or two in next year’s draft and move Wynn to his OG spot and Brown to LT?

    • kevinz says:

      This trade could work out i would rather get a player to help us now though than more draft Picks. Getting a high pick for Mason better than get nothing at all so wouldn’t hate it.

  5. kevinz says:

    Just for Fun i would like a trade of Malcolm Brown for Grady Jarrett Atl just drafted DT Senat so figure they want two DT types and we could use a int rush type DT on our end.

    • Daniel says:

      Interior rushing DT is precisely why you and I both wanted the tea to draft PJ Hall.

      • kevinz says:

        yea i surely did seems Pats better at picking S early than at CB. which why surprised pick CB Dawson so early. I thought would a DE or Int DT earlier in this draft. BB tends to do diff than what i want lol he has been right alot so i wont chant to fire him yet haha

        • TommyG says:

          People keep overlooking Keionta Davis that was signed to team right after last year draft This guy will be good trust me. Eric Lee could benefit from a full offseason with the team but he flashed as well. Those two along with Harvey Langi could have factored into why Bill didn’t draft any DE.

  6. Russell says:

    Great report, interesting prospect.

    • macspak says:

      gotta wonder why they didn’t pick him ahead of Bentley. Maybe they just loved Bentley’s intangibles. Not that Sam doesn’t also have.

      God, I hate this time of nothing happening year.

  7. Stephen J says:

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DcZtpAmU8AAgIcG.jpg

  8. Stephen J says:

    Some comparison’s for Sam to current/former Patriots

    …………….Christian Sam…Jerod Mayo……Elandon Roberts…Kyle Van Noy
    Height…….6’1″……………..6’1 1/4″………..5’11 3/8″…………6’3 1/8″
    Weight…….244……………..242……………..234……………….243
    Arm Length.31 1/2″…………..32 7/8″………30 7/8″…………..31 5/8″
    40………….4.73(Pro Day)..4.54…………….4.60(Pro Day)…..4.71
    10 Split……1.63……………1.51……………..1.67………………1.62
    Vert………..32″…………….40.5″(Pro Day)…36″(Pro Day)……32.5″
    Broad………9’6″……………9’6″………………10’0″……………..9’4″
    3 Cone…….7.03……………7.31……………..7.20(Pro Day)…..7.22
    20 Shuttle…4.20(Pro Day).4.29……………..4.26(Pro Day)…..4.20
    Bench………28……………..22………………..25…………………21

    College Stats
    Games………35……………32………………..25………………….52
    Solo Tackles.166…………..143………………109………………..157
    Solo/Game…4.74………….4.47……………..4.36……………….3.02
    Total Tackles.240…………..236………………175………………..226
    Total/Game..6.86………….7.38………………7.0………………..4.35
    TFL………….17.0………….21.0………………23.5……………….61.5
    TFL/Game….0.486………..0.656…………….0.94……………….1.183
    Sacks……….7.0……………6.5……………….7.0…………………25.0
    Sacks/Game.0.20………….0.203……………0.28………………..0.481
    Int’s…………3.0……………1.0……………….1.0…………………7.0
    PBU………….4.0……………1.0……………….5.0…………………11.0
    FF…………….3.0……………0.0……………….2.0…………………5.0

  9. GM-In-Training says:

    Word was, earlier in college the coaches wanted to make Sam a CB, but he got too rocked up.

    As it is, a 7.02 3-cone is not amazing for an ILB, but it should allow him to hang with TE, and some RB in coverage. That’s sorely needed.

  10. kevinz says:

    Nice report Mike i like Sam was hoping would be a more calm Burfict where makes plays all over the field. Doesnt turn 22 for few months too so young

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