All-American defensive end Michael Sam of Missouri revealed on Sunday that he is gay, a milestone in professional sports that won’t soon be forgotten.
In the world we live in today, this move was very bold. Everything is public, everything is over-exposed and over-analyzed. Michael Sam shouldn’t feel like he’s going to be judged wherever he goes, and while the media is going to make a circus out of this, Sam certainly knows what he’s getting himself into and he wants the NFL team that drafts him to know exactly what they are getting.
On the football field, where it matters to scouts, Sam proved to be a heck of a player in his senior season at Missouri. The 6’2″ 255 pound defensive end racked up 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss and was one of the top defenders in the conference known for tough defense.
Sam was a first-team All-American. He’s considered a ‘tweener’ prospect who could go to the NFL as a defensive end or outside linebacker for a 3-4 defense, but what matters is that he can get pressure on opposing quarterbacks and make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Right now, the consensus is that Sam could go anywhere from rounds 3-7, and some are split on what round he will land in after the news. Most scouts knew that Sam was gay and some said it won’t affect him. Others say it will. My personal opinion is that Sam’s stock might be slightly affected by his coming out, but it won’t be because he’s gay.
The only reason a team might back off from this situation is because of the media circus that comes with it. Any smart team looking for pass rush help in the middle rounds will see a guy who made plays in one of the toughest conferences in college football, and will be willing to put up with the extra reporters for a couple of weeks at camp.
Eventually, this will take on a state of normalcy, but it’s a huge story because Sam is going to be the first openly gay NFL player. Whether or not he’s picked in the third round or undrafted, he’s going to play in the NFL.
Whatever team that gets him is going to get a heck of a player, and a guy who can come in and contribute from day one.