Christian Sam, LB
School: Arizona State | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 244 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 4th Round
NFL Comparison: Avery Williamson
Christian Sam was a 3-star recruit from Allen, Texas. Arizona State was able to pry him away from a Baylor program that was recruiting him heavily. Sam was one of the more productive linebackers in the nation last season. Up to this point, he surprisingly hasn't gotten much coverage from the national media. Sam is a well-built linebacker that has really good natural instincts and anticipation. I think he moves relatively fluidly and plays faster than his timed speed. He has a nose for the ball and always seems to be around the ball in the box. He has enough athleticism to cover and has made a few nice plays this season in coverage but needs to get better in that area. Sam also needs to play with more awareness when he is in coverage as he can be sold down the river by his assignment by never checking back to the QB. Sam offers a bit of pass rushing ability but will need to refine that area of his game as well. He's a developmental player with good physical skills who could be a high-quality backup player contributing on special teams with the upside to be developed into a solid starter.
- Excellent size, strength, and decent athleticism for the position.
- Great instincts and anticipation. Not fooled often with RPOs and PAs. Able to sift through the trash and get to his man. Has the quickness to make into the backfield for TFLs.
- Solid tackling technique. He squares up and hits center mass most of the time and rarely lets someone slip out of his grasp.
- Good effort player. Saw him pursuing ball carriers 20 or 30 yards downfield and come up with tackles.
- Has the ability to play with some range but still doesn't quite understand space or coverages.
- Not having that true quick-twitch hurts him as a pass rusher. QBs can slide in the pocket and he may overshoot them.
- Not much turnover production despite a lot of tackles. He needs to learn how to attack the ball in coverage and when making tackles.
- Hands could use improved technique to get off blocks.
Let’s see his work:
Chalk this one up as a crazy play for Christian Sam. Unreal read/reactionary quickness to pick this ball off. You can tell he studied this one. pic.twitter.com/RTOZH1gKz4— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) March 26, 2018
Christian Sam is going to be one of the 2018 NFL Draft’s best value picks. A starting LB that you can find on Day 3, who has similar traits to former standout LB Daryl Smith. I explain why here: https://t.co/JJKX6Vm5J3— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) March 29, 2018
Cat and mouse game between LB Sam and RB Jones. pic.twitter.com/Xj2TrORu0A— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) March 27, 2018
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
If the Redskins wait until the middle rounds for a linebacker I think Christian Sam is in about the same league as other mid-round prospects like Josey Jewell and Micah Kiser. I think Sam has better movement skills than those guys and maybe a slightly more rangy athlete. I don't think Sam starts immediately while those other guys might because of their better instincts and production. I’m sure he will have to make his way on special teams for at least a season or so while he works on his issues particularly in coverage. If the Redskins upgrade the defensive line further it won't be bad at all to roll with Mason Foster and Zach Brown and have Sam, Spaight, and Vigil for depth. Sam has a good set of physical skills to pair with his anticipation and instincts and if he can learn to attack the ball better and consistently put pressure on the QB he can work his way to a starting role eventually. For whatever reason, his playing style is reminding me of Thomas Davis. That is a comparison he should definitely take pride in working towards.