Predictions of draft day drop for Michael Sam


On Sunday, defensive end Michael Sam told the world the same thing he told his University of Missouri teammates before the season.

Sam publicly announced that he is homosexual, putting the 2013 SEC defensive player of the year in position to be the first openly gay player in the NFL after May’s draft. Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans of spoke to eight NFL executives and coaches, none willing to put his or her name to their opinion of a man revealing part of his identity, on Sunday to find out how Sam’s choice to take that on will affect his position in the draft.

Because Sam had come out to his teammates already, one person Thamel and Evans spoke to said that 90 percent of teams already knew and had dropped Sam on their draft boards as a result. Others said that the NFL would be ready for an openly gay player “in the coming decade or two” and that being openly gay would “break a tie” with another player going before Sam. An NFL assistant said Sam’s move was not a smart one.

“You shouldn’t have to live your life in secrecy,” the assistant coach said, “but do you really want to be the top of the conversation for everything without ever having played a down in this league?”

Thamel and Evans also spoke to a scout who said Sam was overrated because he inflated his stats against inferior competition inside and outside the SEC and Peter King of spoke to a G.M. who thought Sam would go undrafted (and two who didn’t seem to think it was that big a deal), but the consensus seemed to be that the same player with a girlfriend or no public sign of sexual orientation would go higher than Sam will go in this year’s draft. The consensus also felt that a team with an established coach and general manager would be the best place for Sam to wind up as a rookie.

This is a first in the NFL, so no one can really know exactly how things play out from here. Sam will certainly draw a lot of attention throughout the draft process and into his NFL career and the idea that Sam will be a distraction will be mentioned quite often between now and May. Sam surely knew that when he started talking to reporters about his orientation, which should at least let teams know that he’s not the sort to shrink from a potentially difficult situation when they decide whether or not Sam is a fit for their team.

78 responses to “Predictions of draft day drop for Michael Sam

  1. Sad, but true. A lot of teams just won’t want the attention that will come with having the first gay player on their roster. It will be really interesting to see which team drafts this man.

    I wish this young man nothing but success. It’s very brave for him to have come out, and he’ll make things easier for the next player who’s in a similar situation.

  2. Some team may get a good player for a cheap price. I agree that it would have to be a team with a very strong coach and GM to withstand the media interest that will accompany this selection. In the end Sam will be playing in the NFL. It is just a matter of where and how. Talent always wins in the end.

  3. his draft prospects have dropped, quite understanding because the other guys in the locker room have to accept him

  4. “The consensus also felt that a team with an established coach and general manager would be the best place for Sam to wind up as a rookie.”

    The Patriots…

  5. Nobody care: You just want attention. That’s it. But u only hurting yourself in the draft and a possibly of an first round. Hope my Bills don’t draft u because we don’t need that type of attention in WNY,and on this team. Only attention we needs is winning ball games and playing in the play offs. And winning super bowls. We serious taking our division back from those cheaters Patriots. Seriously

  6. He’ll go to a team that has a strong coaching staff and has handled adversity with players well in the past. Welcome to Pittsburgh or New England, young man.

  7. If he’s a good player a team shouldn’t care and fans of that team shouldn’t care if he shows up to play on game day. It’s fans of opposing teams that will have bad things to say.

  8. While I respect this guy’s life choices and freedom of speech, he just cost himself some dough

  9. Unless this kid was a complete no-miss sort of prospect, why in the world would any team draft him knowing the headaches that are now probably going to follow?

    I don’t know him as a player at all, but apparently he wasn’t anything more than a 4th or 5th rounder before the announcement. I can easily see this kid not getting drafted. He should have kept quiet until he had a job.

  10. What if this guy is stud de? First ballot hof. Would you prefer that your team not use a pick on him? Several players in this league have much bigger problems.

  11. I still think “unnamed sources” are the crutch of poor reporting. The NFL is a competitive league, and while some teams are dropping him on their board I bet there are a few GM’s who will see that they are getting a deal.

    As long as he can come in and earn the respect of his teammates he will be accepted.

  12. “in the coming decade or two” ? It’s happening now. The NFL better get ready. I don’t care what owners, GMs and coaches say off record, if the player is talented it won’t matter that he is gay. The NFL is about winning and a team will make it work. When they do, they will find that it won’t be a problem at all.

  13. My prediction is this will play out exactly like Manti Te’o last year – everyone will make a huge, overblown deal about it until training camp starts and then it will become a non-story.

  14. I would hope that an NFL team would look at this kids leadership skills and fearlessness in the situation and decide to move him up the draft board.

  15. I am sure most teams would be happy to have him. It is the media circus that will be more likely to make them hesitate on him. It is unfair but we know that a lot of coaches do not want anything that they consider to be a potential distraction.

  16. With all due respect, I think those who expect this to hurt his draft prospects are just plain stupid.

    Sam is one heck of a football player. Whether he kept this to himself or not is of no relevence to how he performs on the field.

    This is much ado about nothing.

  17. Coming out now helps avoids any possible resentment from his new team (as opposed to coming out after he’s drafted).

    And besides, who cares, really? It’s 2014. If the kid can play, he can play.

  18. Seattle. The Seahawks have the obvious strong management and player base to take on Sam. Also, they’ll get a late round steal to add to their formidable rotation.

  19. Kind of sad that none of these unnamed ” eight NFL executives and coaches” lack the integrity and courage Michael Sam showed.

    It would be great if these folks had the guts to put their names to their predictions.

  20. The ravens aren’t afraid of being trendsetters throughout the NFL. They are also a family friendly organization that strives for equality and fairness in the NFL. They have a large number of individuals who are politically active on this front and on others from Ayenbedejo to Matt Birk who never hesitated to speak on any issue. This guy is a defensive beast and if he drops, the Ravens won’t fear what other players and columnists express and will benefit greatly from it. The time has come to tell the truth and hopefully the other 30 to 50 NFL players who are hiding will come out as well.

  21. You know if this causes him to drop in the draft it goes to show we’ve come along way but still have a long way to go! No different then being open to allowing African Americans or Native Americans or anyone who’s not white to be a part of the good ol boy network even though a lot still swear they are not prejudice…I mean Jim Jeffries wouldn’t fight Jack Johnson because he was black, a black fighter pilot and war veteran couldn’t get a pilots job with any airline in the late 50’s early 60’s because he was black…I mean come on it’s 2014 it’s time to grow up, yes your beliefs may say being gay is wrong, but is it right to deny anyone an opportunity because of their race, sexual orientation or religous beliefs?

  22. Again, what i have said before it doesn’t really matter to me, but you know what might become the issue is the cause. Not sure if you heard but the new NYC mayor is not going to attend the long tradition of the St Patrick’s day parade because they would allow the gay group to have banners just like others that are invite as part of the parade. The parade is about St Patrick, not other people or places. NOTE they could march but then it became an issue. The same could occur here. The NFL controls things right down to the shoe laces you wear. What do you think will happen when a player wants to wear a rainbow on his uniform and gets turned down. Then it becomes PC city. I hope things work out for the guy. What I hope doesn’t happen for him is he becomes the NFL’s gay spokesman and has defend everything. Just let him play football.

  23. Good decision. His tell all book has to start somewhere after his playing days are over.
    Not only will he be signing with the NFL but probably with a publicist and a movie producer for the rights to tell his story.

  24. Gotta love the coward saying “Oh yeah, in 10 years it’ll be fine, not now.” How do you get from point A to B, idiot?

  25. So teams will not want him because they do not want to deal with the added media attention?

    Then why do they have no problem with guys that torture and kill animals, get arrested for sexual assault, carrying a gun into a club, DUIs and beating up their wife or girlfriends?
    How about creating a fake dead girlfriend to enhance your image?
    How about presenting yourself as the Messiah and savior of the world because you wear your religion on your sleeve 24/7?
    None of that stuff created extra media attention?

  26. Well, he was a projected 5th rounder before this. I think his lack of height is going to hurt him more than his orientation.

  27. This is a tough situation, because at the top here, “the news” is the news. That’s what’s hard here, not if some teams blackball him.
    The problem is, he is not Jackie Robinson. He is a guy on the bubble. How would you like to be a team, say the Linebacker’s Coach or DC or even GM and be dealing with the legitimate question of whether he belongs on the roster, and have the microscope of the media on it.
    It is a million times bigger than signing Myron Rolle and having the media buzzing around the decisions to cut or keep him because Myron was a smart enough guy to get a Rhodes Scholarship. Myron was on the bubble.

  28. Our country gives him the right to be whomever he wants to be ; it also guarantees his teammates the exact same right and in an alpha male world were he to be ostracized it would not be shocking.
    It is a warrior mentality that rules in that environment politicians and lobbyists can endoctorinise acceptence. They cannot force APPROVAL there is a massive difference.
    Were a front office to force a team to take on the circus it could make the incognito/martin fiasco seem like the coverage of the 3rd string punter.
    The liberal agenda police will for look any player , coach or administrator to crucify at their altar of indoctrination as they believe in complete tolerance so long as you are tolerant of their viewpoint ….just do not expect them to be tolerant of your viewpoint especially should it be spiritually based, that is a fast track to be thought of as subhuman or devoid of intellect.

  29. True, teams like Philly have deal with bigger distractions before

    But this guy just isn’t very good. Gay, straight, who cares? He beat up on bums, and disappeared against any real competition. Sorry, no bums in the NFL for him to pad his stats

  30. The guy can play. We will get drafted by someone. But I am not looking forward to all of the stupid jokes that will drown the team who picks him from morons who can’t wait to be handed a cheap punch line.

  31. By the way, Sam will not be the first gay player in the NFL. Based upon population statistics, there have most likely been hundreds. He’s just the first one with any guts.

  32. Just because you people say it’s 2014 and I have to accept something that I’ve found disgusting my whole life doesn’t mean I’m gonna do it
    I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that way but I’m not gonna back down to the soft people who tell me I have to accept it or get over it

  33. great player for the team who choses him, not a media sexual orientation circus. Sadly, either Sam or one of his handlers thought that coming out at this point in time would get him more notice (it did) and a better ranking and maybe a better team in the draft. I think it was a bad idea. When you make the draft into a political statement, you divide your fan support and possibly the income that the team can generate. Now instead of judging Sam on his playing ability, the teams have to worry about possibly losing some of it’s fan base. Money always trumps what is PC in a business. That was not a good bet to take. While I agree with Sam’s right of his sexual orientation, I also feel that anyone’s sexual orientation is a private matter. Let people guess if they are that bored that they have to delve into your life. If you want to go out with a guy or gal in public, have at it, just don’t be so verbally open about it.
    Probably Sam’s team mates suspected his orientation before he told them. I am sure there are plenty of NFL players who are gay that their team mates suspect or know about. They just don’t feel the need to have everyone else in their private business. That’s as it should be.

  34. If he has the talent then he will end up on a team. Talent trumps everything in the NFL. Some players being uncomfortable around an openly gay teammate (I use the term openly gay because there have always been gay men in every profession–including the NFL) is something they need to work on, not something Sam has to work on. Almost every player has not made a player’s conduct an issue if that player is talented enough. We are talking about players who abuse women, use PEDs and other drugs, failure to take care of their children, hurt/kill people in DUI accidents. In the not too distant future being an openly gay athlete will cease to be a big deal.

  35. His sexual orientation makes no difference and will not cause a drop in his draft status. He will be drafted by a team that thinks he can help them on the field.

  36. bonniebengal says: Feb 10, 2014 11:22 AM

    His sexual orientation makes no difference and will not cause a drop in his draft status. He will be drafted by a team that thinks he can help them on the field.


    Do you come from the land of make believe? Tell King Friday I said hi

  37. Guess he’ll be changing positions from defensive end to wide receiver. Tight end is out the question since he’s so open now. I can see a team drafting him and that will be the team thats full of the same type of players as this individual. This dudettes gonna have a haard time in the NFL with certain players fans and public opinion. Im gonna sit back and watch the show. Its all this is A BIG SHOW!

  38. This will all blow over and I’d be willing to bet he hits it out of the park at the Combine. currently has him going in the 2nd round. I wouldn’t be surprised if his stock falls a bit due to all the attention, but I imagine he’ll end up somewhere where the general populace is really intelligent and well-educated – like New York, Foxboro (Boston), or Seattle.

  39. The other guys in the locker room are paid professionals. Hopefully they will act like it. If they are on a team that drafts Sam, they still need to go to work and do their jobs whether or not they agree. If I were a GM, I wouldn’t care one bit about what the other players think. If he’s the top player on my board when the 4th-5th-6th round comes up, I’m drafting him.

    Players get big money to play, coaches get big money to make it work inside the locker room and out on the field, and the GM gets big money to find talent. Sam’s situation shouldn’t change any of that.

  40. I can see Philly taking him. Although the d-line isn’t a huge weakness they can always use another rotation guy. They accepted Vick after dog fighting, they kept Cooper on after using a racial slur, so why not be accepting of a guy who was productive in college and happens to be gay? If he’s the best available at the time they’ll get him.

  41. I hope he has a good combine and passes
    all of the test, he might be a good fit for my Chicago Bears, our defence needs some young energetic blood, we were the worst we have ever been last year, he just might be able to helpout in our new 3-4 defence. Chicago is a great place to play football.

  42. Coming out to his Missouri teammates didn’t seem to cause much of a distraction or problem. Seems like the NFL owners, GMs and coaches that would rather not deal with it are looking for lame ass excuses. Kid may not be the second coming of LT, but he has NFL talent. Go ahead and pass on him so you don’t have to deal with the stigma of the openly gay player. Totally stupid, either the kid can play or he can’t.

  43. Just not worth the hassle to deal with his baggage. Obviously he has an agenda he wants to push. Also I wouldn’t want to worry about a possible lawsuit against my team if we drafted him and then released him…

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