Michael Sam isn’t going to be a first-round pick next month, but his expected selection in the later rounds of the draft will be noteworthy all the same.
Sam’s public acknowledgement that he’s homosexual earlier this year leaves him poised to become the NFL’s first openly gay player, a milestone that isn’t likely to get him picked on the first two days of the draft. Sam had 11.5 sacks at Missouri in 2013, but there were questions about how well he’d transition to the NFL even before a poor showing at the combine in February.
Sam did better at his pro day and Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports several teams have maintained interest in Sam over the last few months. Wilson lists the Ravens, Patriots, Jets, Falcons, Colts and Browns as the clubs that have displayed the most interest in Sam.
It’s a wide range of teams and predicting how the late rounds of a draft will play out is something of a fool’s errand, so it’s hard to read much into what that means for Sam’s future beyond the fact that he still seems likely to be selected. As with every other player picked closer to the end of the draft than it’s beginning, what comes after that will be based on his ability to buck the negative predictions about his NFL future.