Already leading the Rams’ defense in sacks heading into the team’s fourth and final exhibition game, Michael Sam continued to build on an eye-opening preseason by recording a team-high six tackles (five solo) against the Dolphins last night.
After the game, Sam was brimming with confidence, as he should be — there’s no way Sam doesn’t make an NFL roster now, and he knows it (via ESPN):
“You know what, it’s not going to be like the draft,” Sam said. “I’m very confident that I’m going to sleep really well tonight and I’m very confident I’m going to be on a team, the Rams or any other team in the NFL.”
In that last bit there lies the rub: As good as Sam has looked, fellow rookie DE Ethan Westbrooks has been even better, and last night Westbrooks had four tackles and a sack. If Sam doesn’t get a spot on the Rams’ roster, Westbrooks is the reason.
But we already knew Sam would have a tough time making this team, considering the Rams’ depth at the position. What we didn’t know — especially in the weeks leading up the NFL draft and the weeks following it, when Sam’s story was dominated by the all the “he kissed his boyfriend!” and “
he’s getting a TV show!” bullshit — was how productive he’d be.
One of the knocks against Sam coming out of Missouri was that he played on a defensive unit that gave Sam plenty of opportunities to get into the backfield, and that maybe he wouldn’t be as good at creating those chances on his own — that maybe he was a product of a good system. It was a ridiculous premise. The whole defense works together to get at the quarterback or ball carrier, and Sam has shown that he can capitalize. He’s an NFL player now, and the only question is, where exactly will he end up?
Rosters must be cut to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Photo via Getty