On the advice of his publicist, defensive end Michael Sam wasn’t talking Thursday. But plenty of others were talking about him following the University of Missouri pro day.

“He’s not a guy that’s gonna wow you with his drills,” said now-former Mizzou teammate L’Damian Washington. “But you put him in the game on third-and-6 and tell him to make a play, he’s gonna grit his teeth and make a play. So do you want a playmaker, or you want a guy that looks good in drills?”

Actually, on Thursday, Sam looked good in drills. Perhaps there wasn’t a “wow” factor, but Sam was significantly better in everything he did compared to the NFL Scouting Combine a month ago in Indianapolis.

“He ran faster, which helped himself,” said Russ Lande, college scouting director for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes and draft analyst for several media outlets. “He ‘verticaled’ I think five inches more. So that’s good.”

Sam wasn’t just better in the 40, he was nearly 2/10 of a second better. After a 4.91-second 40 in Indy, Sam ran a 4.75 Thursday at Mizzou. His vertical leap was 30 inches, compared to 25 inches at the combine. And he did 19 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press, compared to 17 at the combine.

He did most of that work with an aching hamstring, which he apparently strained during his first 40-yard dash. (He didn’t run the second.)

“I think Michael improved in just about every category,” said Rams scout Evan Ardoin. “The thing I really liked is he competed through some adversity. It didn’t look like he was maybe feeling the best, in terms of having a hamstring (issue) or something like that.

“And I thought the kid busted his tail. It was really impressive to see him work through that (hamstring).”

That was especially apparent in the football-specific drills. As was the case at the Senior Bowl, Sam was asked to work at linebacker Thursday. He definitely looked better on those drills; then again, it wouldn’t have taken much to top his awkward work there in Mobile.

“He’s a stiff guy, so he’s never gonna look like a ballerina changing directions,” Lande said. “But you can see when you watch him, this guy has been working every single day at these position drills because he knew exactly what he was doing. ... You can see with Sam clearly, his whole focus has been on this every single day.”

So Sam definitely helped himself. The same could be said for fellow defensive end Kony Ealy. Ealy actually ran slower than Sam at the combine (4.92 seconds) although every other aspect of his work in Indy was very good.

Well, Ealy knocked nearly 3/10 of a second off that time, getting clocked at 4.67. In fact, he was clocked as low as 4.57 seconds by one scout. With 31 NFL teams in attendance — apparently the Redskins didn’t show although they were scheduled to be there — there can be variations in stopwatch times.

Ealy said he left the combine determined to improve his 40 time.

“It was just a personal thing with me,” Ealy said. “I know I’m faster than what I showed at the combine. I got a chance to come out here and prove that, and I feel lot better afterwards.”