Should the Rams consider drafting Michael Sam? – Jimmy, Belleville, Ill.
Let’s cut right to the chase. Yes, I absolutely think the Rams should consider drafting Sam, assuming he doesn’t completely bomb at the NFL combine.
The NFL has proven that teams can never have enough pass rushers. Look no further than recent Super Bowl champion teams such as the 2007 and 2011 Giants, 2008 Steelers, 2012 Ravens and 2013 Seahawks for examples.
The Rams already have an impressive defensive line, led by Robert Quinn, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a player of Sam’s type to be able to edge-rush from all over the field – something the Rams lacked last season.
Only seven of the Rams’ 53 sacks were produced by players not on the defensive line, and two of those seven belonged to members of the secondary. That means the linebacking corps only produced five sacks all season (3.5 for James Laurinaitis and 1.5 for Alec Ogletree). Outside linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar failed to produce a single sack.
Neither Ogletree nor Laurinaitis are known as pass-rush specialists, so those numbers shouldn’t be looked at as an indictment of those players. Rather, it illustrates the Rams’ need for a pass-rusher than can rush the passer without having his hand in the dirt. Think along the lines of Clay Matthews, Aldon Smith or Robert Mathis. Obviously, Sam – likely to be a mid-round pick – wouldn’t be able to step in and produce like those guys, but he’s worth a flyer. He clearly has a strong motor, as he demonstrated in his last season at Mizzou, and the recent success of fellow Mizzou defensive linemen in the NFL such as Aldon Smith (42 sacks in 43 career games) and Sheldon Richardson (2013 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year) should bode well in Sam’s favor.
Plus, he’s got some really great pass-rushers to learn from in Quinn, Chris Long and William Hayes among others.
As for how Sam fits in the locker room, I have more than enough faith that the triumvirate of Jeff Fisher, Les Snead and Kevin Demoff will be able to handle any controversy without fail.
Related: How did Rams players react to the Michael Sam news on Twitter? Find out here.