BY CANDY PARKER
After months of speculation, the question as to whether or not the NFL is ready for an openly gay player has been answered — Michael Sam has been drafted into the NFL.
Sam made headlines in early February when he came out during interviews with ESPN and The New York Times. By selecting the SEC Defensive Player of the Year as the 249th pick in the 2014 draft, the St. Louis Rams make Sam the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL.
As the draft entered its final (7th) round Saturday afternoon, anticipation regarding Sam’s future heightened. By all accounts, the former Missouri Tiger defensive end was expected to make it into an NFL training camp, though those in the know debated whether that would be as a late round draft pick or as an undrafted free agent after Sam’s mediocre performance at the NFL combine.
Sam’s size, strength and speed were all in question, though analysts now say that Sam’s aggressive style of play makes him a great choice for the defensive-minded Rams. Sam could be a perfect fit in the creative blitzing schemes of Rams defensive coordinator Greg Williams.
OTA off-season workouts get underway for the Rams on June 3. That’s when the next question in this historic saga will begin to be answered — is Michael Sam ready for the NFL?