Lost amidst all the hype Michael Sam has been gathering with his coming-out announcement is the fact that he isn’t actually the man fans should be paying attention to. I get it. A player being openly gay is big news right now, but it’s time we move on and start paying attention to players because of their skills, not their sexual orientations. With that said, while Sam is a great player in his own right, it’s actually his teammate who is the better NFL prospect.
Kony Ealy, the man on the other side of Missouri‘s defensive line last season, has become one of the most overlooked players in the entire 2014 NFL Draft. Sam might be the one who racked up the sacks last season for the Tigers, but there is no doubt Ealy is the player more likely to become a star at the next level.
Ealy, who stands at 6-foot-5, has prototypical size for a 4-3 defensive end. When you throw in the fact he is extremely athletic and possesses some of the best instincts in the draft, and all of a sudden you’re looking at a prospect with star potential. Ending his junior season with nine total sacks, Ealy has already shown he has the ability to wreak havoc on the quarterback; while he could probably stand to improve in run stopping, Ealy is still adequate at taking down opposing running backs.
Sure, Sam is the bigger name right now for obvious reasons. However, as far as the NFL is concerned, Ealy is the guy we should be keeping our eyes on.