Aug 8, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam (96) defends against New Orleans Saints wide receiver Seantavius Jones (15) during the second half at Edward Jones Dome. The Saints defeated the Rams 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Rams vs. Saints: How Did Michael Sam Fare in NFL Debut?

St. Louis Rams seventh round pick Michael Sam, the former SEC Co-defensive player of the year, got his first NFL action in a pre-season game against the New Orleans Saints on Friday night.

He didn’t look out of place, that’s for sure.

What Sam lacks in ideal athletic measurables, he makes up for with grit on the field and a relentless motor. I saw plenty of that, even though Sam showed often that he is, in fact, a rookie.

Not surprisingly, Sam showed burst off the edge, and had a really nice pressure on Saints quarterback Ryan Griffin. He also burst through the line on a couple of run plays and overall looked pretty solid, finishing the night officially with just one tackle and one QB pressure.

The jury is still out on Sam, mainly because of the strength of the Rams’ defensive line. Most feel like he has a pretty good shot of making their final roster, and I would tend to agree with that. The question is, can Sam hang with the athletes in the NFL? Tom Pelissero reports from USA Today:

“…I can play in this league,” the St. Louis Rams’ rookie defensive end told reporters Friday night. “That’s the most important. I was kind of nervous. I got some nerves out today. It was a very good learning experience, and I can play in this league.”

“I make plays,” Sam said. “That’s what you’re supposed to do.”

Sam had a second pressure on the QB negated by a defensive holding penalty, and overall played pretty well. Whenever people decide to get over the fact that he has made public his sexual orientation, I think we’ll finally be able to focus on the fact that this is an underrated 7th round pick with an excellent college resume who should be able to crack an NFL roster.

 

Tags: Michael Sam NFL Draft NFL Preseason St. Louis Rams

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