Now that he has made his sexual orientation public – which has nothing to do with football, and we have seen who his boyfriend is and the fact 31 other teams in the NFL were fearful of drafting him except for his hometown St. Louis Rams, can we now talk about Michael Sam the football player?
So much has been made about Sam – everything except the fact he is a pretty darn good football player. The fact he was dominant in the SEC, the fact he was beating on teams like Auburn. Georgia. South Carolina and Florida. The fact that there weren’t too many running backs that got away from him in his senior season.
The rest of the facts about his personal life don’t matter. I want to talk about the football player, not who he is holding hands with at the beach.
Michael Sam, through determination, will make the St. Louis Rams as an outside linebacker, situational pass rusher and a pretty good player on special teams. There is no denying the heart and desire this kid has. And if you peel away the layers of written text and website material about the infamous “kiss” on ESPN or what his boyfriend likes to do in his spare time, there is a football player who just may hurt someone.
These are the reasons Sam makes the Rams in 2014.
Now that we have all seen him in agony over the fact he was picked over by all but six other players in the NFL Draft, that becomes motivation that will drive Sam. Not the fact he is a gay athlete trying to make it in a very masculine sport. The media wants that to be the driving force. Sam will show that although he did not have a great workout at the Scouting Combine, he is the still the same beast in college.
Pass rushing skills
While the Rams have a good front four unit in the league, the linebackers could be better. If Sam is a “tweener” than he is a man who will also play with a hand on the ground. I personally think he has the ability to become a Tony Brackens-like player. He could be a guy who comes in and gets six or seven sacks on third down. He will certainly be disruptive.
There are certain guys that just get it. When you work on drills outside of your comfort zone, it does affect you. Sam wasn’t comfortable in Indianapolis, but make no mistake, playing in space and closing speed are his specialty. When rookies produce, you tend to forget was said about them in scouting reports.
Larry Izzo made the Miami Dolphins on special teams. Kassim Osgood as well. Montell Owens proved to be a special teams aces. The same will hold true for Sam. Take a player determined to make a team who is drafted late or undrafted and see what they can do. Sam will be more valuable to this team as a special teams demon than anything.
He just gets it. He gets the most out of his players. Fisher won’t be phased by anything other than how this kid plays and practices and if he fits the defensive mold he has in place in St. Louis. And he will push Sam harder than any time he has played the game. There will not be any special treatment here – just the desire to know if Sam is hungry enough.