Michael Sam Will Be Picked Late in NFL Draft, If He Gets Picked, Experts Say

The NFL draft begins on Thursday, May 8. So how are gay Missouri defensive end Michael Sam's prospects looking?

Si_samAccording to a new article on NFL.com's Michael Hanzus they're not looking very good:

"The reason you don't hear much about Sam anymore a few days before the draft is this is the time for real players," McGinn wrote Monday. "Based on discussions over the last month about Sam's capability as a player with about two dozen NFL executives in personnel, he's regarded almost as a non-entity."

Strong words from McGinn, who polled 21 scouts with national responsibilities. Three said Sam was a fifth-round talent. Three said sixth round. Three said seventh round and five said they would sign him as a free agent. Seven scouts said they wouldn't sign him at all.

The issue for Sam comes down to size and speed. He's undersized (6-foot-2 and 262 pounds) for the defensive end/outside linebacker positions and not fast enough to excel in coverage. Sam struggled at the NFL Scouting Combine, though he did manage to improve on measurables at his pro day.

Hanzus adds: "If Sam does come off the board, expect it to happen Saturday when rounds four through seven are selected. It sounds like a very real possibility we don't hear his name called at all."

Let's hope they're wrong and Sam does get picked. We'll be rooting for him.

As Bleacher Report notes:

But if 256 names get called from Thursday-Saturday and Sam is not one—remember, roughly half the executives McGinn talked to said they would draft Sam as high as the fifth round—the NFL will have missed out on a potential culture-changing moment.


  1. Jason MacBride says

    These “scouting reports” on the draft are notoriously unreliable except for the names of the first 4 or 5 picks. Sam does have liabilities (size and less than the desired speed) but he’s made a career of overcoming those. That kind of player normally gets a chance, usually in the middle rounds.

    And remember, Tom Brady was a 6th round pick. How did that work out?

  2. jamal49 says

    Screw the NFL. It doesn’t mean Sams can’t play another position. Hell, Michael, go to the Canadian League or the Euro League. You’ll do well anywhere you go.

  3. Paul R says

    I’m not sure that I remember too many cases where the NFL professed a strong interest in culture-changing moments. And Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction doesn’t count—it didn’t change culture, just showed how silly it is.

  4. Jmac says

    This seems like it’s on track to be another Jason Collins situation…mediocre player doesn’t get signed and people cry homophobia when that’s not the case. When the next Michael Jordan/Wayne Gretzky/Tom Brady doesn’t get picked because they’re gay, then you can cry homophobia

  5. Jmac says

    This seems like it’s on track to be another Jason Collins situation…mediocre player doesn’t get signed and people cry homophobia when that’s not the case. When the next Michael Jordan/Wayne Gretzky/Tom Brady doesn’t get picked because they’re gay, then you can cry homophobia

  6. Sergio says

    How sad that America has such a fixation on football. All sports are useless, but this definitely has the most pernicious effect on our society.

  7. JMC says

    Oh come on now Jmac, we all know the fact that he’s openly gay and attracts a lot of media attention because of that is a big strike against him on top of his shortcomings as a player.

  8. Perry says

    NFL teams are not a playground to advance social changes. NFL teams are there to WIN. He was a great college player, but the OVERWHELMING majority great college players don’t make it as even mediocre NFL players. Scouts are never 100% accurate, but they are pretty accurate (and pointing out Tom Brady as the exception to the rule doesn’t negate them). The fact is that he just stunk at the NFL combines and did not impress at all.

  9. Long Game says

    Not getting drafted only means that he regains some control over which team he signs with. He can still sign as a free agent, and he actually gets to pick the best situation available to him. Costs him some money up front, but sometimes getting into the right situation is better career-wise in the long run.

  10. Dastius Krazitauc says

    “he was the SEC defensive player of the year; they don’t hand that out to just anyone”

    That’s also why I don’t get McGinn dismissing Sams as not a “real player”.

  11. KT says

    The folks at Outsports are saying there is basically no chance of Sam not getting drafted. They say all of the sports writers think he will be drafted. Its amazing how different their predictions are from the scouts mentioned in the article.

  12. CPT_Doom says

    I follow sports somewhat, and I am surprised at the things being said in this article, and how they are not aligning with other reporting on the issue. The idea that the SEC defensive player of the year is a “non-entity” in the draft when nearly every other player to win that award went in the first or second round of the draft seems ludicrous. The estimations of Sam being drafted in the 4th – 6th rounds (which was the prediction before his coming out) had already factored in the challenges he likely will face in the NFL.

    Outsports, which was in on the breaking news of Sam coming out, has a very different take on the issue, with a whole bunch of named experts’ and sites’ estimation when Sam will come out. One facet that Outsports covered is that there are owners who may 1) want to be the trendsetter a la Branch Rickey with the desegregation of baseball and/or 2) want the monetary returns likely with a Sam draft pick. After all, when Jason Collins was signed by the Brooklyn Nets (who are now going onto the next round of the basketball playoffs), his shirt was the highest seller on the team within hours, and the NBA is now auctioning off some signed shirts for charity. It was a total PR win/win. It is likely that if Sam makes a roster (he still has to get through training camp even if drafted), his shirt will also be a big seller, which is not going to happen with most rookies.

    I expect Sam to be drafted, probably in the 5th or 6th round on Saturday afternoon, and to make a roster as a special teams player, at least at first.

  13. Tom in Lazybrook says

    If Sam isn’t drafted, it will be brought up the next time some NFL owner wants the LGBT supportive taxpayers of a city to pay for their stadiums.

  14. Moretruth says

    Some of these cracker scouts have been the quickest to selectively marginalize Sam’s talent and SEC accomplishments (aside from leading the SEC in sacks, his defensive play also secured the Cotton Bowl win for Missouri over Okie State). Fact is, THEY have an agenda, especially the ones fueled by the Fellowship for Christian Athletes. Sam will get drafted DESPITE their efforts. Mizzou-RAH

  15. Kieran says

    If we’re going to have an OPENLY gay NFL player, better someone who is absolutely qualified and will be able to prove himself on the field. What’s the point of having an “affirmative action hire” who will wind up the “gay NFL player” who warms the bench?

  16. Kieran says

    To make it clear, I am NOT inferring Michael Sam isn’t qualified for the NFL. I expect he is highly qualified. He certainly has the guts and courage. My point is we should want his being chosen based on his performance on the field and what he can do for an NFL team.

  17. Jerry says


    Because that’s certainly Sam’s position. I don’t think he’d care so much for being that kind of signing with a team.

  18. Ryan says

    No, JMAC. If Michael Jordan were gay and drafted and had a successful career, the NBA could have still very well been a homophobic league.

    It’s when the bench warmer who has enough asset and intangibles to be on the team who’s able to be out and not be cut that we can say a league is embracing equality for all.

    We can expect stars and “exceptional talents” to overcome adversity much easier than people who are much closer to human.

    The NFL is the most notorious league when it comes to avoiding players if they’re good enough to be on the bench, but not great enough to have a big role. The NFL deems these players — rightfully or wrongly as the cases may be — as “distractions.”

    And, unfortunately, for all too many teams, they’ve deemed having an openly gay player as something that could cause a “distraction.” That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t draft or sign such a player, but it does mean the bar will be much, much higher for entry.

    Until that bar is no higher or lower than any other member of a league like the NFL, then homophobia in the NFL persists.

  19. Rick says

    OK, for you guys who know nothing about football, success on the college level does not necessarily translate to success in the NFL, just as success at the high school level does not translate to success at the college level.

    Most Heisman trophy winners have not succeeded in the NFL, for example.

    By the same token, some guys who were unsung in college are better suited to the style of play in the NFL and therefore excel when they get there.

    Tim Tebow was widely considered the best player in college football when he was at Florida–but virtually no NFL scouts or analysts believed he had what it took to succeed as an NFL quarterback–he didn’t have the arm strength or throwing motion that are ideal for the pro game and his running skills–which were so valuable in a college offense–were worthless in the NFL.

    Sam is not the prototypical NFL defensive end, for the reasons given. That said, I DO think some of the comments being made by scouts and analysts are a bit harsh and THAT may reflect some homophobia on their part.

    So the truth is somewhere in between, as it usually is in these cases. He is not a great pro prospect, just a decent one–but he deserves more respect than is being given, no doubt due to the homophobia that still exists around the league.

  20. Perry says

    No @jjose712, the word on him BEFORE coming out was not that different. People had talked about his size and speed. People had said he was a late round draft pick. He made his draft prospects even worse when he was a big flop at the combines. He’ll have to prove himself probably as a free agent (or a very late draft pick), but he is NOT the prototypical player for his position, plain and simple. Can he succeed? Absolutely, but he isn’t the type those knowledgeable in football would automatically pick.

    Then again there are so many gay guys who don’t know the difference between a homerun and touchdown already saying homophobia is involved in his draft prospects.

  21. Kelly says

    Was homophobia a factor in all the comments about him in the locker room or shower or being a distraction. He is not the only tweener in the draft. Let’s see if the ohers get drafted

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