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NFL Draft 2014: Would free agency have been better for Michael Sam’s career?
- Updated: May 14, 2014
Michael Sam was introduced on Tuesday as a part of the St. Louis Rams draft class. His focus now is on attempting to make the Rams’ 53-man opening day roster. Many pundits were happy that the Rams made the decision to draft Sam, but in actuality it may not be the best scenario for him.
Analysts all over the country would have blasted the NFL as bigots if Sam was not drafted. However, a team was going to sign Sam as a free agent.
The opportunity to pick his destination may have been better for his career. While being drafted was a historical moment for equality, Sam being drafted put him in a difficult position. He has to now try to make the depth chart of the deepest defensive line in the NFL.
Robert Quinn is a true quarterback hunter. He had 19 sacks last season and seven forced fumbles. Chris Long has been one of the most consistent defensive linemen since he entered the league. He has 50.5 sacks since 2008, which ranks sixth amongst defensive ends during that period. Behind them are two capable backups in William Hayes and Eugene Sims.
The Rams’ defensive line got even deeper with the selection of Aaron Donald in the first round of the draft. He is listed as a defensive tackle but has the ability to play outside if needed.
If Sam had not been drafted Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that Sam would have had offers from the Rams, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, and New York Giants.
Going to the Giants would have made a ton of sense. They need pass rush help and there would not be a ton of established guys in front of him on the depth chart. Even the Bears would have been better fit than going to the Rams.
Sam has an uphill battle in front him, but you don’t become SEC Defensive Player of the Year without overcoming challenges. This is no longer about the sociology of the situation; this is now about football.
Hopefully the Rams and Sam are a good football fit for one another.
Photo Credit: Matthew Visinsky/Icon SMI