Michael Sam and Johnny Manziel are two of the most talked about NFL rookies coming into the 2014 NFL season. “Johnny Football” Manziel comes in as a highly touted rookie who went much lower in the draft than expected, and was expected to compete for the starting quarterback job for the Cleveland Browns. Michael Sam came in as the St. Louis Rams seventh and last draft pick, in a position typically labeled “Mr. Irrelevant” due to the fact that seventh round draft picks seldom make the cut and play for the actual NFL team. The main reason Michael Sam has been in the news at all is that he came out of the closet prior to the draft, causing his selection as the last pick of the 2014 NFL draft to make him the first openly gay player in the NFL.
Both Michael Sam and Johnny Manziel have caused a significant amount of buzz, with both of them in the top 10 for NFL jersey sales. Both are impressive athletes. In a related report by The Inquisitr, Johnny Manziel was also drafted in the late rounds — by a Major League Baseball team.
Johnny Manziel is fighting for a starting position, a battle he apparently has lost to Brian Hoyer, at least for now. Michael Sam is fighting for an opportunity to stay with the Rams long enough to actually play in an NFL game (seriously, preseason doesn’t count). While Manziel’s performance has been less than many had hoped and expected of the Texas A&M superstar, Michael Sam’s performance has been fairly solid, at least for someone drafted in the Mr. Irrelevant spot. He scored two sacks in the Rams’ preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, sending Johnny Manziel to the turf twice and boosting his preseason sack total to three.
After Michael Sam’s first sack on Johnny Football, he made the “money” sign that the often-cocky Manziel is famous for, mocking the star quarterback. It appears to have been in good fun. An ESPN report quotes Michael Sam saying this about it:
“If you’re going to sack Johnny, you’ve got to do that once. He’s a talented kid. He isn’t called Johnny Football for nothing. It was fun getting to play against Manziel in an NFL game. I sacked him as both a junior and senior at Missouri.”
For his part, Johnny Manziel spoke well of Michael Sam, saying:
“The guy goes through a lot of stuff, so he gets heckled by everybody I’m sure, so he came up to me and said hello. It was a brief interaction. I thought he played pretty well.”
What do you think? Will either Johnny Manziel or Michael Sam make it in the NFL?