ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis) — It could be a very long weekend for Michael Sam.
The openly gay football player from the University of Missouri is hoping an NFL team takes a chance and makes history by drafting him, but some experts believe he might end up being an undrafted free agent.
Scouts told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that they don’t see Sam’s game transitioning to the NFL.
“Most of his production was hustle stuff,” an NFC personnel official told the Journal Sentinel. “There’s production, but he’s short, he’s not a really good athlete and he doesn’t play good against the run.”
He continued: “He’s kind of a one-task pass rusher. Just run up the field. And they swallow him up and kind of push him around.”
One NFC personnel director stated that Sam doesn’t have a position in the league.
“He’s not a linebacker, and he’s really not a defensive end,” the personnel director told the Journal Sentinel. “I’d certainly take him to camp. You’ve got to admire how hard he plays.”
An AFC executive said Sam was “short and slow.” Sam stands at 6 feet 2 inches and weighs 262 pounds.
Despite the potential setbacks, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is hoping to see Sam succeed in the league.
“I want to see Michael Sam get an opportunity to play in the NFL,” Goodell told ESPN Thursday before the first round of the NFL Draft. “We like to say the NFL is the ultimate meritocracy. If you can play football, they want to see you play. The teams want you. The fans want you. And that’s ultimately what it’s all about.”
Goodell continued: “I have great respect for Michael, his courage, his decision to become public, and I’m optimistic that he’s going to get that opportunity, and hopefully he can play at this level.”
Sam, who was the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year, will be the first openly active gay player in the league.