Oakland Raiders adding Michael Sam makes sense for struggling team

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Sep 21, 2013; Bloomington, IN, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) reacts after the game at Memorial Stadium. Missouri defeats Indiana 45-28. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Senior Success

Obviously the biggest allure to Sam is his senior season at Mizzouri where he became an All-American and a household name in college football with the Tigers. Sam led the SEC in both sacks and tackles for a loss in 2013, ranking Top 10 in the NCAA in both categories coming in 9th in tackles for a loss and 8th in sacks as one of the best statistical players in the country. Without that success in 2013, Sam may not have been considered so highly which some use as a knock on the player, but when you accomplish what Sam did in what is regarded the best conference in college football it should only be considered as a positive.

Take away Sam’s three sack performance against Arkansas State and the rest of his 8.5 sacks all came against BCS conference schools including three against Florida, one against South Carolina, and a sack in his final collegiate game against Oklahoma State where he also forced a fumble against the Cowboys. Sam’s best game of his collegiate career may have came against the Gamecocks, where his five tackles (three for a loss), and sack came against Connor Shaw who was picked up by the Cleveland Browns this spring.

NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread had this to say about Sam’s performance and draft stock following the South Carolina game:

"Missouri defensive end Michael Sam delivered his NCAA-leading 10th sack of the season Saturday night against South Carolina in a losing cause, solidifying the most productive season of any defensive end in the Southeastern Conference so far. Sam had three three-sack games this season for an NCAA-leading nine entering the game and came up with a sack of Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw to break into double digits. Sam had three tackles for loss on the night, among five solo tackles, for losses of 17 yards. He also added two quarterback hurries for the Tigers. Led by Sam, Missouri has had the most effective pass rush in the SEC this season. Mizzou’s other defensive end, Kony Ealy, has had a strong year as well. Sam (6-2, 255 pounds) is undersized for an end position in the NFL but could pass rush as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Sam, a fifth-year senior, has potentially played himself into a mid- to late-round draft pick next April, a source close to Sam’s evaluation by NFL scouts told College Football 24/7."

Playing in the NFL is a different story to playing on Saturday’s, but inside the conference that produces some of the best talents in college Sam was dominant enough to show that if he continues to develop that he will be able to find a way to overcome his athletic shortcomings on the field. After all, performance in game film and on the field is what is important to head coaches, players, and fans. When it comes to that aspect of Sam’s resume, he passes with flying colors.