Almost slipping completely out of the 2014 NFL Draft, former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam was selected by the St. Louis Rams, a team that plays about two hours away from where Sam played his college football in Columbia, Mo. Even though his draft stock fell miserably over the last couple months, the Rams felt that Sam could contribute to an already solid defense. With defensive coordinator Greg Williams, who likes to call exotic blitz packages all the time, Sam can be a stand-up outside linebacker or a hand-on-the-ground defensive end. Of course, as soon as he signs his contract with the Rams, Sam will become the first openly gay player in the history of the NFL.
It appeared for a while like Sam may not get drafted and be forced to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent, but the Rams took Sam with less than 10 picks left to go in the draft. Really, Sam is going into the best situation possible for him. He’s barely moving away from home and should feel comfortable playing in St. Louis. From a football standpoint, the situation is perfect for Sam as well as he won’t be forced to become a defensive end or outside linebacker right away because he can blitz out of either position.
Unquestionably, the Rams will face a barrage of media coverage in training camp, but Sam being closer to home should make that process much easier. Nothing will be easy from here on out for Sam, but the defensive end is used to dealing with that. Signing with Missouri as a two-star prospect, Sam eventually went on to become last year’s SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Now his hometown Rams are hoping he can keep on making history not just off the field, but on it as well.