By now many are aware of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam recently making the decision to come out as gay. Months from now he will likely become pro football’s first openly gay player. Personally, I think it is great that he is proud to share this part of his life. As a society we have come a long way in fighting ignorance surrounding such aspects. Being that our discussions are centered on the gridiron, there has already been much talk on how, if at all, his announcement would impact where Sam comes off the 2014 NFL Draft board. My answer is that such evaluation of course should be determined the same as every other prospect.
Last season statically was his best year as Sam’s 48 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks were all collegiate career-highs. These last two numbers are interesting as they could indicate solid run support potential at the next level. It also provided a nice bounce back from his relatively quiet junior campaign. If anything concerns about inconsistency would cause Sam to drop, not his sexual orientation. Many projections have him going in the middle rounds and would be justified.
Playing with a high motor around the line of scrimmage is invaluable to defenses. Supposedly Sam also serves as a positive member of the locker room. Comments such as Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark viewing this as potentially being used against him in such pro settings should also have no bearing on general managers and other decision makers. I agree with other writers who say plenty of teams would benefit from adding Sam to their organization.