Before Michael Sam came out to the world prior to the 2014 NFL Draft, many scouts dubbed the undersized lineman as a fifth round prospect. If that’s the case, then Michael Sam’s draft status could be revealed as the final rounds of the NFL Draft concludes today.
Michael Sam’s draft status is clearly the hot topic on what is usually considered the least interesting rounds of the draft. Unlike the first round of the NFL Draft, where Johnny Manziel’s draft status became must-see-TV, the fourth-to-seventh rounds of the draft are usually only of interest to hard core NFL junkies and analysts alike.
But now, all eyes are on whether or not the former Missouri standout will be drafted, becoming the first ever openly-gay player in the NFL. As mentioned earlier, Michael was projected as a late round prospect, but a poor combine workout hurt his prospects. And as Fox Sports reports, Michael Sam’s draft position is suffering, not because of his openly gay lifestyle, but because coaches will have a hard time knowing where he fits defensively:
“The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Texan is considered a tweener — too small to play defensive line in the pros and not fast enough to be an every down outside linebacker.”
But as Time magazine points out, if Sam isn’t drafted at all, there could be a flurry of controversy from those outside football circles:
“If Sam’s name isn’t called over the next two days, expect a flood of hysterical questions and forced debates. Did teams pass on him because of his sexuality, and use his lack of size and speed as a convenient excuse? Did they not want the media ‘distraction’ that would accompany Sam, wherever he goes?
Before rushing to call out NFL execs as bigots, however, consider: whether he’s drafted or not, Sam will get his chance to show a NFL team he can play.”
Regardless of whether Michal Sam is drafted, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year is still a hot commodity outside of football. ESPN.com is reporting that Michael Sam has signed his first endorsement deal, partnering with Visa for a new commercial.
“We felt that Michael’s story was a perfect fit for our ‘everywhere’ campaign, which is meant to inspire people to reach their own personal goals and aspirations,” Visa’s chief marketing officer Kevin Burke told ESPN.com. “We wish Michael the best on and off the field as he embarks on the next chapter of his life.”
You can watch the Michael Sam Visa commercial below. And tune into the NFL Draft to find out more on Michael Sam’s NFL future Saturday on ESPN.