St. Louis Rams Draft Michael Sam with 249th Overall Pick in 2014 NFL Draft

Posted May 10, 2014

The St. Louis Rams drafted University of Missouri defensive end and co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year with the 249th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

With the 249th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Rams and defensive end Michael Sam made history on Saturday afternoon.

VIDEO: Michael Sam is a Good Fit

The selection of Sam quickly became the most anticipated pick of the latter rounds on Saturday afternoon. The 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year became the first openly gay player to be chosen in the NFL Draft.

PHOTOS: Best of Michael Sam's career at Mizzou

The pick of Sam was made via a phone call by Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher, who recounted the conversation with Sam to ESPN following the draft selection

“I said, ‘Hi, this is Jeff Fisher, you are a Ram—the wait is finally over,’” Fisher said. “In the world of diversity we live in now, I’m honored to be a part of this and I’m excited about his opportunity to help this football team win."

Sam, a University of Missouri graduate, posted 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss for the Tigers last fall.

He joins a Rams defensive line that ranked among the league’s most productive units in 2013, as the group combined for 46 of the team’s 53 sacks, which ranked third-most in the NFL.

Rams General Manager Les Snead outlined Sam’s job description and how he projects within the Rams’ scheme during his joint post-draft press conference with Fisher.

“As you go through drafting, when you talk about Michael Sam, you put him in our category of ‘DPR,’ and that’s a designated pass rusher,” Snead said. “That’s where he fits in our scheme and he likes to rush the passer.”

Even though his wait to be selected was a lengthy one, Sam remained confident he would, in fact, be chosen in the final round. 

“I am overwhelmed, I’m excited, and I’m proud to be a Ram,” Sam said. “I knew I was going to get picked somewhere. Every team that passed on me, I was thinking about how I was going to sack their quarterback.”

Sam took on a confident, determined and at times a resolute tone during his 10-minute press conference with St. Louis media following his selection, casting aside any concerns regarding his size, speed or any additional perceived snub absorbed since the conclusion of the college bowl season.

“I am so confident, and it’s all about football,” Sam said. “It’s about winning games and winning championships, and the St. Louis Rams wanted to win championships. I think they drafted two great players today: (Missouri teammate) E.J. Gaines and myself. We’re going to rock it. There’s a chip on our shoulder. We’re pissed off for greatness.”

Never one to shy away from the unconventional in his 19-year career as an NFL Head Coach, Fisher quickly embraced the historical nature of the Rams’ third of four seventh-round selections, not only from a football standpoint, but from a cultural one, as well.

“We’re in an age of diversity,” Fisher said. “The players understand that. They know that. I think the University of Missouri should be commended on how they handled that thing. It’s not a distraction. People try to make it a distraction, but it’s not a distraction. I’m personally proud of him for coming out. I’m sure it was a very difficult thing for him to do, and I would also submit that it was probably a tremendous load off his shoulders. The truth is out there and he was accepted by so many people.”

As for the bonus of acquiring a player of Sam’s distinction as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in the seventh round, Fisher chalked the draft pick up to what was widely considered a three-day draft success.

“I’d like to think that pretty much sums up our draft, and we’re very excited about that,” Fisher said.

It wasn’t immediately clear just how Sam will figure into competition this fall for playing time with a defensive line that certainly ranks among the best and deepest position groups in the league, if it isn’t there already. Nor did that aspect seem to deter the Rams’ brass, or Sam himself, who was quick to embrace the notion of positional competition.

“I’m so proud to be a St. Louis Ram,” Sam said. “I’ve been preparing for this moment for a long time, and I’m so determined to be great.”

After nearly seven rounds and 249 selections, Michael Sam is a Ram—a draft outcome that was worth the wait.