FOXBORO, Mass. — There’s a line in Christian Sam’s draft profile on NFL.com that might concern some New England Patriots fans.
In the “weaknesses” section, NFL Media draft expert Lance Zierlein wrote the following: “Scouts say he’s not the alpha leader in the locker room and doesn’t love to practice.”
Obviously, an NFL prospect not enjoying practice would be a big red flag. Reports from anonymous scouts never can be taken at face value, however, and Sam, whom the Patriots drafted in the sixth round (178th overall) on Saturday, insisted there is no truth to this one.
“Everyone has their own opinions,” the linebacker said. “They’re entitled to their own opinions. I feel like that was something that was put out there that wasn’t true. I’m a guy who, when I’m practicing, I take pride in practicing, because I know it’ll prepare me for the game. I know how big practice is to be able to get prepared for the game and play at a very high level.
“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and that’s something that got out there that I couldn’t control. The only thing I can control now moving forward is to make sure I’m the best practice player I can be.”
Before drafting Sam, the Patriots selected another linebacker, Purdue’s Ja’Whaun Bentley, in the fifth round. Both primarily played as off-the-line linebackers in college but do have some versatility.
Sam, who also played on special teams in all four of his seasons at Arizona State, measured in at 6-foot-2, 244 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine. Bentley was listed at 6-foot-2, 260 pounds at Purdue but had dropped to 246 by his pro day.
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