Posted: 11:29 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12, 2013
By Bill C.
2010: 13 games, 17.5 tackles, 7.0 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 FF, 2 QB hurries
2011: 13 games, 22.5 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 4 QB hurries
2012: 12 games, 15.5 tackles, 7.0 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 FF, 1 FR, 4 QB hurries
Michael Sam was everywhere. I'd love to think of him as a "15 tackles for loss" kind of guy, but I don't think he is; he's more like a better Stryker Sulak, a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who happens to line up with his hand on the ground. Kony Ealy will be the TFLs guy for the most part, but Michael Sam is Missouri's best overall defensive end.
I wrote that after the spring game. Fewer than four months later, I've shifted back to assuming Kony Ealy is the best DE on the team.
It's easy to underestimate Michael Sam. He's not very physically imposing (though he's definitely gotten bigger through the years), and he isn't blessed with as much natural (or physical) talent as others. But he might have the best motor on the team. And as he proved against UCF, when he crushed quarterback Blake Bortles on a fourth-and-goal attempt late in the half, he's as capable as anybody on this defense of making a big play in a key moment. And despite their respective reputations, he ended up with more sacks in 2012 than Kony Ealy did.
If you could put Michael Sam's motor into Kony Ealy, you'd basically have Jarvis Jones. As it stands, the two entities are separate. But that isn't a bad thing. As it stands, Mizzou has a solid pair of ends that, with Sam entering his senior season and Ealy trying to make a big splash for the draft, could be Mizzou's best pair of ends in a while.
MizzouRugby: Another solid DE, hopefully he can be the bookend to Ealy and help create some space for the DTs.
The Beef: I’d love nothing more than for Sam to work his way into getting his name called that weekend in April if we are talking about the draft. Though always seeming small to me, he seems to make plays, and that is all you can ask for. Right now, it is somewhat thin behind him, so he is going to have to make quite a few this year.
countrycal: He has had experience, and tasted success. I’ve got to think Sam rounds out a decent college career with a strong season of joining Ealy in creating havoc in opposing backfields. Last year was an anomally; I’m looking for the SEC to see some serious Steckled defense.