St. Louis Rams Releasing Sixth-Rounder Bud Sasser Due to Heart Condition


Unfortunately, it appears that St. Louis Rams rookie wide receiver Bud Sasser’s NFL career will end before it even began. As first reported by ESPN’s Nick Wagoner on Thursday morning, the Rams will release Sasser with a non-football-related illness designation because of a pre-existing heart designation.

It appeared recently that a move of this fashion was coming soon, as the Rams broke their long-standing tradition under Jeff Fisher and Les Snead of signing all their draft picks at the same time in order to give Sasser a contract. By signing Sasser and then releasing him, the sixth-rounder will get to keep his signing bonus of $113,737 and become eligible for NFL benefits. Sasser had not participated in any practices thus far as he attempted to pass a physical. Sasser, a bit of an off-the-wall pick in the sixth round, had not been invited to the combine or participated in a facility visit with the Rams, during which a physical presumably would have taken place.

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Though he was somewhat of a one-year wonder in college, Sasser had plenty of success as a senior down Highway 70 at the University of Missouri. He had 77 catches for 1,003 yards and 12 touchdowns, placing him second in catches and receiving touchdowns and third in receiving yards in the SEC. The Rams hoped that Sasser would become a success in the same way that his former Mizzou teammate, cornerback E.J. Gaines, did as a sixth-rounder in 2014.

It’s difficult to completely fault the Rams for taking Sasser considering the medical circumstances, but it is worth noting that he’ll be yet another late-round pick that will fail to see regular season action with the Rams. The team’s last five picks in 2014–sixth-round quarterback Garrett Gilbert and four seventh-rounders, offensive lineman Mitchell Van Dyk, defensive back Christian Bryant, defensive end Michael Sam, and center Demetrius Rhaney–did not make the 53-man roster last season. Rhaney spent the year on IR while Bryant was on the practice squad, so those two could potentially still become success stories, but the high failure rate in the latter rounds is not a good sign for the Rams if they want to build a successful program like the Pittsburgh Steelers or Green Bay Packers have.

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Even though he was just a sixth-rounder, Sasser’s loss could cause issues for the Rams’ receiving depth. He was expected to compete with fourth-year veteran Chris Givens for a backup receiver job. Without Sasser, the only players who could potentially push Givens or try to earn an extra backup job are veterans Damian Williams and Devon Wylie, longtime practice squad member Emory Blake, and undrafted rookies Daniel Rodriguez, Tyler Slavin and Isiah Ferguson.

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