Former SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam is working hard to become the first openly gay player to make an active 53-man roster as he battles through St. Louis Rams training camp.
In his most reason preseason performance, Sam picked up his first sack, but that may not be enough to secure his spot on the roster.
From the moment he was drafted in the seventh-round of the 2014 NFL Draft, it was clear that Michael Sam was going to have to work hard and overcome some steep odds if he wanted to land on the team’s final roster.
St. Louis has one of the deepest and most talented groups of defensive linemen in the league, so Sam would have to find a way to stand out.
So far, he hasn’t been able to do that.
In the Rams 53-man roster projection by ESPN.com, Sam doesn’t make the final roster.
The nine defensive linemen who land on the roster in the projection are Chris Long, Robert Quinn, William Hayes, Eugene Sims, Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford, Aaron Donald, Alex Carrington and Ethan Westbrooks.
According to Nick Wagoner, Westbrooks gets the cut because of outplaying Sam in practice.
The first eight are likely solid in their spots. But after some back and forth, I decided this was the week to elevate Westbrooks after another solid performance against Green Bay.Michael Sam also played well against the Packers, but Westbrooks has been more consistent in practice and offers more positional versatility. Sam remains in the race, but to my eye it looks like Westbrooks has moved ahead for now.
Sam could certainly overtake Westbrooks for that final roster spot and it would be a good story, but the harsh reality is that this is a business and no spot is ever guaranteed — just ask Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who lost out to Brian Hoyer for the team’s starting job.
We will find out in a couple of weeks whether or not Sam will make the final cut, but right now he seems to be on the outside looking in.