Michael Sam spent the first preseason of his career with the Rams after being the team’s last pick in this year’s draft. But the team chose to move on from Sam yesterday, giving opposing teams the opportunity to claim him.
— NFL (@nfl) August 30, 2014
Sam is a talented pass-rusher out of Missouri who won SEC defensive player of the year and was an All-American in his senior year. Sam fell in the draft due to his “tweener” status while lacking the athleticism and size to spark the interest of NFL front offices. But these “measurables” shouldn’t deter teams from taking another look now at the talented player following his release by the Rams
Despite concerns about his physical stature and athleticism, Sam continued to produce at a high level this preseason. In four preseason games, Sam accumulated 11 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 TFLs, and 5 QB Hits (comparatively Dontay Moch produced 5 tackles,1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QB hits); Sam even managed to sack Johnny Manziel and celebrated with his own “money sign.” No doubt Sam benefitted from the Rams’ loaded defensive line along with their surprising defensive end find in UDFA Ethan Westbrooks (who was amongst the top performing 4-3 defensive ends this preseason according to Profootball Focus), but Sam would equally benefit from the Bengals’ quality line.
Sam also possesses the always valuable “chip on his shoulder” quality. How many All-Americans who earn defensive player of the year in college football’s toughest conference would fall all the way to the seventh round? Sam’s size and “measurables” don’t seem to matter when he’s on the field. He’s proving scouts and GM’s wrong and seems to use his “passed over” status as motivation to succeed. But regardless of whatever motivates Sam, he’s producing at a high level in the NFL. The Bengals are already loaded along the line and so they’d need to carry an extra player in order to acquire Sam. As the Bengals have expressed often, you can never have enough quality rushers and Sam could be a real steal for the Bengals going forward. If even given consideration, the team would have to decide which player on its final roster they’d drop for Sam, while also considering if its better for their overall situation to try to carry either Moch or Sam Montgomery on their practice squad in lieu of claiming Sam. It probably isn’t a move the Bengals will make, but it’s certainly worth serious consideration from the Bengals front office. What do you guys think?