Sam may have been better off going undrafted

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The stature and media coverage of the draft create a clear presumption that it’s very good for a player to have his name called as one of the more than 250 selections.  For players drafted at the end of the process, however, it’s better to not be drafted at all.

If not drafted, a player may sign as a free agent with the team of his choosing, with the goal of finding the roster that gives him the best chance of earning — and holding — one of the 53 final roster spots. For that reason, former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam’s short-term and long-term career prospects may have been enhanced by not being selected with the 249th of 256 picks.

Rams G.M. Les Snead hinted at this dynamic during a Monday appearance on PFT Live, when discussing the thought process behind drafting Sam.  Snead explained that the Rams hoped to sign two undrafted defensive ends, but that the quality of the team’s current collection of defensive ends could make that challenging.  Thus, to get the number of defensive ends that the Rams hoped to have in the offseason and training camp, they needed to rely on the draft.

In other words, the Rams knew it would be very difficult to persuade undrafted defensive ends to voluntarily join the team.  So they opted to add Michael Sam involuntarily.

Ultimately, they may voluntarily cut Sam — especially in light of the competition he faces on the roster.  It won’t be easy to do. Michael Sam jerseys are selling briskly, and fans will expect to see him on the field in September.

The best outcome for Sam and the Rams could be an injury (or perhaps an “injury”) that would allow the team to put him on IR for the season.  He’d receive his full salary, the fans who purchased jerseys with the idea that he’ll be on the team will be placated, and the Rams would have an extra year to decide whether he has the ability to thrive at the NFL level.

34 responses to “Sam may have been better off going undrafted

  1. If he’s just another player and it’s all about football as he and the Rams say he is and it is, he needs to be treated accordingly. If he’s given preferential treatment, he will be treated accordingly in the locker room and on the field. Don’t do him any favors, Rams. Just let him play and earn a roster spot or not on his own.

  2. I totally made this call in one of the many other Sam threads. I’m not so modest I won’t brag about it, either. I do think he’ll have the chance to make it in the NFL, but it won’t be with the Rams.

  3. It’s going to be tough for him. I really don’t see him beating out any of the current defensive ends on the Rams team.

  4. Hahaha!! The best result for Sam is an injury?! I would think it would be better for him to make the squad, even if it’s the practice squad. Smh

  5. so in other words pay him for not being able to the job he was drafted to do? unless he is really injured he needs to get out there and earn his job just like everyone else and if he can’t then he can be one of the many former almost pro football players. he thinks he should have been drafted earlier then prove it or move along. no excuses or special treatment for him, put him at defensive end just like he was in college and see if he can do it and if he can’t to bad for those dumb enough to by the jersey of a 7th. round draft pick.

  6. I think the Raiders would have been a great spot for him to land. It’s an area very accepting of his life style (not saying Mizzou isn’t) and from a playing stand point he fits very well.

    It’s obvious we’ll be in many different fronts considering we have to get Moore and Mack on a field that’ll include Tuck and Woodley as pass rushers. He could learn a ton from Woodley for a year as they’re very similar players in size and speed and be a 3rd rusher behind Mack and Moore in ’15 or ’16.

  7. Well, the Rams find themselves in a damned if they, damned if they don’t situation. GM setting the stage for him not to make the team. The courses of action laid out of him being placed on IR is probably the best if he really can’t make the team to avoid other BS from that community. And now they are saying he’s comparable to Jackie Robinson. PLEASE! Teams suspending players because that player voices his opinion. There’s the Freedom of Speech Amendment yet it’s been circumvented by workplace policy and legal opinions.

  8. Yeah, but if he wasn’t drafted, poor Rich Eisen wouldn’t have been able to sleep that night. “How can a guy from Marist be drafted, but not the SEC player if the year!?”

  9. Last time I checked, this guy was SEC defensive player of the year. That entails that he is competitive and has the will to succeed. Lets stop pretending he isn’t a baller. Because he is.

  10. You know what would be nice, if all the media outlets would treat him like any other 7th round pick instead of acting like it’s amazing he got picked for a team even though he’s gay. If the goal is him having an equal shot at the NFL why not treat him like you would any other player.

  11. I would hate to be the Rams as an organization if they end up cutting this guy. The media-driven “controversy” will be Godzilla-esque in its ferocity and destruction.

  12. Call me crazy, but I would think the BEST outcome for Sam & the Rams would be for Sam to earn his way onto the roster in training camp, and make another DE expendable via trade.

  13. Every player is better being a UDFA than a seventh round pick. More leverage for the player since you may have teams bidding against each other.

  14. Can you imagine the drama if he gets cut? I’m sure they were surprised at the publicity of him getting drafted with the long kiss being played over and over in the media. The media will only make things worse.

  15. How could the best case scenario be Sam getting injured? It wasn’t like he was heterosexual until February of this year. He was a gay man that happened to play football very well at the collegiate level. If I’m not mistaken he was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He had a mediocre workout and practice and all of a sudden every thinks he’s not a very good player. Best case scenario for Sam is that he’s either the 5th guy or an upgrade over Eugene Sims. It’s not unrealistic to keep 5 DE’s on the 53 man roster the way the Rams move them around.

    I could be wrong but seems like his football skills either deteriorated a whole lot in 3 months or analysts have been entirely too critical of his playing ability since he informed everyone he’s gay.

  16. Rams are stacked at his position. In trying to do him a favor, they may have set him up to fail. If they cut him, he’ll be joining a new team later in the camp process and learning a new playbook… meeting new teammates… he’ll be behind and a long shot.

    The guy is best when he’s straight ahead rushing the QB. Horrible in coverage, so really only a 3rd down option and special teams guy.

  17. The Rams/Fisher use a wide 9 defensive end structure…. That is what Sam fits and there are few teams that employ it. I think he sticks there at the bottom of the rotation and eventually excels.

  18. For everyone who points to Conference awards that he won as indication that he is a good player – remember that college is a different game then the NFL.

    Troy Smith, Jason White, Eric Crouch all won the Heisman Trophy since 2000….

    How many of them had NFL Careers?

    He is too small for Dline, and to slow for LB – that’s why he was a 7th round pick.

    Now he will get the opportunity to prove that he belongs. IF he does – more power to him. But, remember how many 7th round picks get cut every year…..

  19. This is why I’d’ve been nervous if it was my team who drafted them. People who don’t know much about football are now following him. If he’s cut, which is a very big possibility on the Rams, some will assume its because he is gay. On the other hand, idiots will also say that it means gays can’t play. It’s just another distraction teams don’t need.

  20. People on the right all claimed Tebow didn’t latch on in the NFL because the powers that be hated his religion. If Sam doesn’t make it, some on the left will claim it was because of his sexuality.

    While there is probably some truth to the idea that teams passed on Tebow and Sam to avoid the ensuing media circus, the NFL is a business, and winning is the most important goal. Nobody will be around the NFL for long if they can’t play, and nobody will be denied a chance if they can.

    The media makes a big deal about Tebow, Sam, etc. because they know it will bring them a huge audience. Controversy always does. People “outraged” by Tebow or Sam one way or the other just help grow the audience.

  21. this is a case of the rams being on the other side of this situation…. for the last decade the rams have culled the opponents scrap heap looking for bodies to fill their roster now (at least at defensive line) things are different, if the rams cut michael sam i fully expect some weaker team to pick him up so if he cant make it on a team with the best def line in football he still has another chance with a weaker team and all the people who bought his rams jersey will still have a valuable commodity when/if the team cuts him. btw a couple months of practicing along with the best d line in football should help him figure what he needs to do to survive in the nfl

  22. So you’re just another one who thinks he shouldn’t have been drafted because he is gay?

    It’s his dream. He deserved it and earned it…who are you to say he shouldn’t has been drafted?

  23. Despite media protects, I think Florio is right in that he would have been better off not being drafted than being drafted by the rams… but an injury, real or imagined, is far from the best thing that can happen to him or any player just drafted or signed. What I’m sure every player wants is a fair chance to make the team, and the best chance possible to hook up with another team if cut. Nothing more/ nothing less.

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