Posted: 8:01 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, 2014
By Tom Ryle
Maybe the situation surrounding the man likely to be the first openly gay NFL player is more pertinent to the Cowboys than we think.
While the Michael Sam story has an impact on the entire NFL (as does the recently released Wells report on Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito), most fans of the Dallas Cowboys felt it was largely peripheral for us. Sam is frequently described as too light to be a hand-on-the-ground 4-3 defensive end, and not agile enough to play outside linebacker in the same scheme.
Hmm. Maybe not.
Prediction: The Cowboys take Michael Sam in the third round of the NFL Draft.— Jeff Sullivan (@SullyBaldHead) February 14, 2014
That is an interesting statement. It is especially so in light of the fact that Sullivan writes and does videos for the Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine, the official periodical of the team. Oh, and he is the author of America's Team: The Official History of the Dallas Cowboys. It is not like he doesn't know a thing or two about the Cowboys.
Even so, one prediction, even by someone who is pretty well plugged into Valley Ranch, is just one man's opinion. But that is the second time in two days I have heard that Sam is being looked at as a possible third-round talent by the Cowboys' brain-trust (the other was in a private conversation, but with someone else who has some ties to the team). And, although he did a breakdown of video that discussed Sam's minuses as well as pluses , Bryan Broaddus had this to say.
Succinct, but it covers the essential point: Dallas needs pass rushers. Sam is a pass rusher. And Rod Marinelli knows how to get the most out of pass rushers.
Now, Sullivan may just be taking a chance on this to try and look really smart. But in the time I have followed him, I don't think he has done things just to stir the pot. And he sometimes does seem to know things that aren't common knowledge, as he showed last summer.
Been saying this for a month now, here and elsewhere. Jay Ratliff's injury is worse than what we were hearing, he's not close to returning.— Jeff Sullivan (@SullyBaldHead) August 25, 2013
As I indicated above, it is enough to make you go "Hmm". I may be a bit more inclined to think there is something here, since I have already stated that the Cowboys, under Jerry Jones, are one organization that is able to handle the attention that Sam would bring with him. The team is so used to being in the spotlight already that I just think they are less likely to be scared off. Beyond that, it shows that the team may not be limiting its thinking to conventional concepts, and this may even have some Marinelli fingerprints on it.
Things may change with the combine next week and the intervening time until the draft, but I am going to keep an eye on this one. At the least, I want to know if Sullivan got this right.
And if he did, we all are going to be watching to see how Sam fits. Of course, if you think this will create a stir, maybe you don't want to even think about this:
Almost enough to make your head explode, isn't it?