Sam is a very accurate passer with a strong arm. He has good size and strength and looks to have solid leadership skills on a team that has not had to deal with very much adversity. Sam works from a spread offense and has had the luxury of playing with a group of very talented teammates. There is no doubt about how well Sam plays with excellent pass protection and a group of talented NFL caliber players but for me there are a lot of unanswered questions and none of those questions have anything to do with his injury. Sam looks to be a smart kid and also to be a valued teammate. However, for me, he seems to lack a crucial skill needed to be a franchise QB.
NEEDS TO IMPROVE
As of this writing I do not know how accurate Sam will be when he is throwing on the run, under pressure or from a three, five, or seven step drop. I have never seen him move up in the pocket and throw or side step in the pocket to gain time for his receivers. I have seen him under pressure change his release point and throw side arm, which can impact a QB's consistency. I have a ton of questions about Sam's ability to perform at the level he has performed in college for the team that drafts him. I had hoped to get some answers this year but because of his injury, I have not.
Last year, while everyone in the draft world could find no fault with Sam and his performance in college, I was sitting there watching a QB that had so much time to pass the ball it looked like he was waiting for bus on a lonely desert road. There was no pressure on this kid at all. I don't like his feet and I don't like the fact that he does not seem to feel the pressure in the pocket. I think you could plug just about any QB with a brain into that offense with those talented players and he would be successful. Because I cannot evaluate Sam's ability to deal with a pass rush and adversity during a game, it is hard for me to be as excited about his game as most seem to be. I'm not worried about his injury -- Drew Brees came back from his and so have others, therefore, that is not an issue for me. What is the main issue for me is Sam's play when the chips are down. How well does he bring a team from behind? The other big question is, does Sam make the players around him better or do the players around him make him better? I see this kid being a good QB, but I do not see him being a franchise QB. He needs talent around him so that his opponents cannot just zero in on him on every down. For me personally, I feel that Sam would be an excellent pick in the second round of a draft or even late in the first round but not as a top ten pick. I see injuries in his future because he is not nimble and has not learned at the college level to deal with a pass rush. Just think how difficult it will be for him to learn how to deal with a pass rush at the NFL level. It will take a while. Sam's LTI is too long for me to think that drafting him in the top ten of this draft will be beneficial for him or for the team that drafts him.
Drew Boylhart 11/09
BOTTOM LINE - TAKE 2 (1/15/10)
I have to say in all the years I have been writing profiles, I don't think I have ever gone back to change a profile...until now. I pulled out my film of the Oklahoma-BYU in game played in September 2009 to watch Gerald McCoy. In that game, Sam played in a hurry-up offense, under center as well as in a spread offense. He showed a strong, accurate arm in a five-step and three-step passing offense with a very quick release. He stood tall in the pocket on many occasions with pressure all around him and overall, exhibited excellent leadership abilities. This kid showed franchise QB abilities for the next level. He does play with a lot of talent around him, but he showed the ability to make that talent better and not the other way around as I suggested in the first portion of this profile. Sam played with four new offensive linemen and, in spite of that, he made that offensive line look like it had played together for three years by throwing the ball on time, reading defenses and, (with a moving pocket) displayed overall athleticism. Sam is a franchise QB; I was wrong in my first assessment of his ability to play at the next level and his future LTI. Like I said, this is the first time this has happened to me, but to tell you the truth, I'm glad it happened. I do profiles based on film and, in this case, I just hadn't been watching the right film. Providing that Sam's injury is not an issue, I would think that he would be the first QB off the board and should be considered a top ten pick. If I needed a franchise QB to build a team around.... Sam would be my first pick. It's just that simple.
Drew Boylhart 1/10