What If The Ravens Drafted Michael Sam?


What if the Ravens would’ve drafted Lawrence Phillips instead of Jonathan Ogden? What if the Colts would’ve drafted Ryan Leaf instead of Peyton Manning? What if David Tyree doesn’t finish off the most incredible play in Super Bowl history? What if the Patriots’ Matt Estrella never got caught taping Jets defensive coaches?

It’s interesting to ask those questions. We already know the outcome of those situations, but still it creates conversation.

Therefore, I propose this question to you: What if the Ravens drafted Michael Sam?

For context, let’s briefly recap the last six months.

On December 11, 2013, Sam was named a SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, along with Alabama’s C.J. Mosley. In early February, Sam made his sexual orientation public knowledge. In this New York Times video, Sam addressed the thoughts of anyone who heard that announcement saying, “Is this a huge deal? I understand it is. But my purpose and focus right now is playing football.”

On Saturday May 10, Sam’s journey as a NFL player officially began when he was drafted 249th overall by the St. Louis Rams. The Rams selected Sam with hopes of him being able to replicate his superb senior season.

In 2013, Sam recorded 48 tackles (including 19 for loss), 11.5 sacks, 2 passes defensed and 2 forced fumbles. He helped lead Missouri to a 12-2 record and a win over No.13 Oklahoma State in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. If you include the SEC Championship loss to No. 3 Auburn, Missouri went 7-2 in the SEC in 2013, losing both games by a total of 20 points.

Will his game translate to the NFL? I’m not sure. Then again, even players drafted in the first round don’t always have a style of play that automatically corresponds to the way the pro game is played.

Of course, the Ravens did not draft Sam. But did they think about it? I’m sure they did. As Ozzie Newsome said in a recent press conference: “When you play the type of defense that we play, you cannot have enough defensive linemen.”

That quote was Newsome referring to Brent Urban, a defensive end from Virginia whom the Ravens drafted with the 134th overall pick. Urban and Timmy Jernigan (nose tackle, Florida State, 48th overall pick) were the only two defensive linemen Baltimore selected in this draft.

Urban (6’7″, 295 pounds), like Sam (6’2″, 261 pounds) recorded at least 40 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss in 2013. Urban broke up more passes (9) than Sam did (2), but Sam played in a tougher conference (SEC) than Urban did (ACC).

The bottom line is that the Ravens were looking to add defensive line depth late in the draft and they selected Urban. How much were the Ravens contemplating drafting Sam? I don’t know. Probably a fair amount. But if he was Baltimore’s pick at any point in the draft, despite a scheme fit or lack thereof, the Ravens would’ve gotten a good football player.

Look around the NFL. It doesn’t take a player announcing that he’s gay to make headlines. Players, for better or worse, generate enough extra attention as it is.

Yes, Sam being gay will bring a lot of attention upon the Rams organization. However, what really matters is whether or not he can help the Rams win games.

St. Louis’ last winning season was in 2003. If Sam can help the Rams return to their winning ways, why wouldn’t they take him?

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About Mike Fast

Mike Fast
I was born and raised in Baltimore. But after a year at York College of Pennsylvania, I transferred to Towson University. At York and Towson, I hosted various radio shows, wrote for the school paper, spoke on a panel RE: college game day presentation at IBS conference in Manhattan and...more

7 Raves on “What If The Ravens Drafted Michael Sam?

  1. Jeff on said:

    I am one who roots for Sam and would love him to be on the Ravens and succeed, but he would not be a good fit on this team. He is a tweener who would have a hard time ever finding a spot on defense, no matter how great a football player he is. This was the issue for Bryan Hall, who was a great person and football player but could not find a role for his skill set. For someone like Sam to make the team (i.e. a Harbaugh team) they would need to do well on special teams but as his scouting report says he is too stiff (and I would say, too slow) to contribute. And all this leaves out the fact that we are stacked at OLB and he would not be able to bypass anyone.
    Basically I see him as like John Simon but without the special teams ability that Simon offers. When you can’t make it on the field on defense and can’t contribute to special teams there is no place for you on the Ravens.
    I really hope he does well with the Rams.

  2. Ravcolt on said:

    Never in 45 years of watching the draft have I heard, read and seen more information about a seventh round pick. Will someone please ask the question why Sam came “out” in the first place? All else is irrelevant.

  3. Marcus on said:

    Look, i could care less what his sexual orientation is, all I want to know is, can this kid play football at a high level. Outside of that, is not even relevant. I blame the media for the over exposure to this story and to just let it go. If he can, no one will care, but if he can’t then at least he gave it his best shot.

  4. Cheri on said:

    LOL..I was thinking poor Clowney that poor guy is being over shadowed by a 5-11 could be might be QB in Maziel and a 7th round gay guy who may not make the Rams.I kind of feel bad for the kid (Clowney) As far as Sam is concern if he would had made the Ravens I think it would had been cool.I would have had no problems rooting for the guy at all.Still am even though he went to the Rams.

    • Robert Fuse on said:

      I don’t feel bad for him. He is making millions of dollars and if he continues to dominate in the NFL, he will continue to make money. He got his due being drafted number 1 overall.

  5. BmoreB on said:

    Thank God we didn’t draft him. Having the circus that comes with the Sam signing isn’t worth it. If he was at least a second round projection, maybe, first round, sure. Seventh round ? Hell no !

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