Just over two hours after the Miami Dolphins took former ASU running back Kalen Ballage in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, the second Sun Devil came off the board. Former ASU linebacker Christian Sam is headed to New England after the Patriots selected him with the 178th-selection in the sixth round on Saturday.
Sam started making real waves around NFL Draft circles after having a phenomenal showing at the NFL Combine in March. The linebacker led his position group on the bench press with 28 reps and finished eighth in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.75 seconds.
The 6-foot-2, 244-pound Sam led the Pac-12 in tackles a season ago, recording 127 total tackles, 87 solo and 9.5 for a loss.
The redshirt junior had momentum after recording 96 tackles his sophomore year and may have left Tempe the following season if not for a foot injury he suffered during the Devils’ first game against Northern Arizona in 2016.
The Allen, Texas native gave away his professional intentions when he decided not to play in the Sun Bowl in December. Instead of suiting up, Sam walked along the El Paso sidelines in sweats.
NFL.com says that Sam has “NFL backup or special teams potential,” and cites an AFC Personal executive who had this to say about the Devils’ former linebacker: “He makes a bunch of stops and he’s always around the ball but you never really see those ‘run the tape back again’ type of plays to get you excited.”
NFL analyst Lance Zierlein said that Sam “looks the part,” and “has enough talent to become a solid NFL backup who can step into starting reps if needed.”