2022 NFL Draft Profile: Nevada DL Sam Hammond
The hard working defensive end went from walk-on to star for the Nevada Wolf Pack, but does he have the tools to thrive in the NFL?
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Can Hammond make the jump?
Many college football players put in tons of work for every break they create and still don’t get all of the recognition they probably deserve. Such is the case for Nevada defensive end Sam Hammond.
A native of Yerington in west central Nevada, Hammond walked on to the Wolf Pack and redshirted in 2016 before beginning an arduous climb to the top of the depth chart, contributing on special teams and then entrenching himself as a starter during the 2020 campaign. By the end of his career at Nevada, he’d made 24 career starts, been named a team captain, and appeared in 60 total games.
Needless to say, he’s more than proven a willingness to put in the work and make an impact on the football field, but will that be enough for a team to call his name at this year’s NFL Draft?
Measurables (taken from Dane Brugler and DraftScout.com)
Height – 6′ and 4 5/8″
Weight – 259 pounds
40-yard time – 4.96 seconds
10-yard split time – 1.71 seconds
Arm length – 33″
Hand size – 10 1/8″
Wingspan – 79 3/8″
Vertical jump – 33 1/2″
Broad jump – 9′ and 5″ (or 113″)
Shuttle time – 4.55 seconds
3-cone drill time – 7.08 seconds
Bench press – 17 reps
HUG ME BROTHA‼️
Sam Hammond tallies the sack for a loss of 21 yards.#BattleBorn // #NevadaGrit pic.twitter.com/UsSspW2V4S
— Nevada Football (@NevadaFootball) October 2, 2021
Sam Hammond likes hugs.
Q4 8:09 | Nevada 34, UNLV 19#BattleBorn // #NevadaGrit pic.twitter.com/GhnVUM0Y6N
— Nevada Football (@NevadaFootball) November 1, 2020
Sam Hammond with a big third-down stop to force a San Jose State punt‼️#BattleBorn // #NevadaGrit pic.twitter.com/QyppXFZGE5
— Nevada Football (@NevadaFootball) November 7, 2021
The most interesting thing about Hammond is that he has surprising speed, and a complementary initial burst, for his size. If, as Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports suggests, seven seconds is a key benchmark for edge rushers to hit in the three-cone drill, it’s worth noting Hammond’s own time gives him an edge over many of the more highly-regarded prospects in this year’s class. Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network also points to hand work as an asset that enables Hammond to both “[collapse down the line] … against the run” and “make plays in pursuit”.
As with just about every other player who chose to play college football for an extra year, Hammond’s age is going to be a factor in some war rooms. Pauline also points out that he’ll need some refinement in his technique should he make it to the NFL, as well, noting tendencies to “[get] upright” and lose balance in the process. That could be especially important for his ability to set the edge against the run in the pros, which was something that proved to be a hindrance for the Wolf Pack defense at times over the last two years.
Hammond is certainly used to be overlooked at this point, though his length and speed are traits which a defensive line coach could push to develop as a role play in the NFL. It isn’t likely that he is selected in the NFL Draft, but it wouldn’t be too surprising if he followed the path of fellow Wolf Pack alum Malik Reed and signed as an undrafted free agent.