Michael Sam in Bengal Stripes?


Feb 24, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri Tigers Michael Sam runs through drills during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

At some point in this year’s NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals are probably going to draft a defensive end. I predict they will most likely do so in one of the middle rounds. History has shown us that Mike Brown loves to draft players of great value. If a player falls a few spots, or even multiple rounds, and lands right in the Bengals’ lap, then Mike Brown will not hesitate to pull the trigger. So what if Michael Sam is still on the board when the Bengals fourth or fifth round pick arrives?

Michael Sam is the reigning SEC defensive player of the year. He terrorized defenses this past year, racking up an SEC leading 19 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. So Michael Sam is a lock to be a first round pick, right? Former SEC defensive players of the year are always taken in the first round. Well, not Michael Sam.

First off, at 6’2” and 260 lbs, Sam is a little bit undersized for the defensive end position. He also seemed to pad his stats against a lot of bad teams in 2013. Another concern NFL teams have, is Sam’s ineffectiveness against the run. All of these concerns have had NFL draft experts projecting Michael Sam to fall to the third or fourth round in the upcoming draft.

What could cause Sam to possibly drop even further? Well as we all now know, in early February, Michael Sam announced that he is gay. Although Sam’s sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with his playing ability, and most NFL players seem to care less, I’m sure some teams are definitely going to shy away from the potential media circus that will surround him being drafted. Whether or not the Bengals would be open to drafting him is anyone’s guess.

I do believe Sam could definitely help Cincinnati if they decide to draft him. If Michael Johnson decides to leave via free agency, then Sam could replace him as another effective edge rusher. As I said earlier, Mike Brown loves to draft players that have fallen to them in the draft. If Michael Sam is somehow still around in the mid to late rounds, then the Bengals just may take a chance and decide to bring the talented defensive end to Cincinnati.