Sam turns in so-so numbers at combine

Missouri's Michael Sam made big news off the field a couple of weeks ago.

On the field, at least at the NFL scouting combine, he didn't make the kind of news Monday he was hoping for and turned in average numbers.

Sam, who was measured at 6-foot-2 and weighed in at 262 pounds, ran a 4.91 in the 40-yard dash, a slow time for a defensive end his size. For perspective, Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson, weighing 332 pounds, also ran a 4.91. And Arkansas defensive end Chris Smith, who weighs about the same as Sam, ran a 4.71.

Sam also had less-than-stellar numbers in some of the other events -- 25.5 inches in the vertical jump, 9-6 in the broad jump and 7.8 seconds in the three-cone drill.

The bigger concern with Sam, over and above his combine numbers, was how he looked in space in some of the drill work. There are questions about whether or not he could effectively make a transition to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme in the NFL. And with his less than ideal size and speed, he could have difficulty being an every-down end in a 4-3 scheme.

My take, after watching Sam come through repeatedly last season for the Tigers, is that he will find a way to make an impact at the next level. It might be as a situational pass-rusher, but he's too active and too determined not to be a contributor for an NFL defense.

Sure, his draft stock might take a hit because of his combine performance. But he also has the tape, and his tape from last season speaks for itself. He was a clutch playmaker for the Tigers, and it wasn't as if he was facing mediocre offensive tackles on a weekly basis.

Here's a look at some other 40-yard dash times of SEC players from Monday's workout. These times are official:

Defensive backs are on the docket Tuesday at the combine, and here are some of the unofficial 40 times for SEC players: