The St. Louis Rams have selected defensive end Michael Sam with a compensatory 7th-round, the 249th selection overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. Sam, who gained the admiration of defensive line coach Mike Waufle at the Senior Bowl, will likely fill the fifth defensive end role on the Rams’ roster that Gerald Rivers occupied during much of 2013 before being lost on a waiver claim to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’ll be a pass rushing specialist who provides depth behind defensive ends Robert Quinn, Chris Long, William Hayes, and Eugene Sims, and he could potentially be an impact special teamer as well.
Sam, who came out as gay prior to the NFL Scouting Combine in February, was the first openly gay professional athlete ever to be selected in a draft of any of the United States’ four major professional sporting leagues. He’ll get the opportunity to stay in St. Louis, where he spent a significant amount of time during his college career at Mizzou, and he will be reunited with Missouri teammate E.J. Gaines, who the Rams took in the sixth round. Gaines and Sam are the second and third players the Rams have selected since moving to St. Louis in 1995.