Whether Tony Dungy likes it or not, Michael Sam is in the NFL. The first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team made his preseason debut for the St. Louis Rams Friday night, and scouts were on-hand to take in his performance.
USA Today’s Tom Pelissero got some quotes from an anonymous scout on Sam, who by-and-large seemed to hold his own against NFL competition. The scout gave a somewhat mixed review of Sam’s performance but did say Sam looked good in one area:
“I think he’s going to struggle against the run. But he does have a little juice off the edge,” one of the NFL scouts in attendance told USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity for competitive reasons.
“He’s a chase player right now. He’s too stiff to play inside. He’s got straight-line speed. I don’t think he has very good quickness. It’s a bit surprising he played left end because he’s not that strong.”
More from the scout:
“He does fly around a little bit,” the scout said. “He’s a good hustle player. I just wonder if that’s enough. He’s a stiff dude. But if you can run and hustle, you give yourself a chance.”
Sam ended the night with a hit on Saints’ QB Ryan Griffin outside the pocket, a QB pressure and a tackle for no gain on RB Khiry Robinson. By all accounts, he was not a significant distraction to his teammates or the other team.
After one preseason game, Michael Sam looks like a potentially solid draft pick for the Rams, but the jury is still out.