Posted: 9:32 am Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Falcons need a pass rusher still? Michael Sam is available 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – Through the three rounds of the NFL draft, the Falcons have failed to fill a major need: Pass rusher.

Their attempts to trade up in the first round for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and for Auburn’s Dee Ford were unsuccessful.

In the second round, they selected Minnesota nose guard Ra’Shede Hageman and said they will convert him to a five-technique (run stopping) defensive end.

In the third round, they selected Wisconsin safety Dezmen Southward, who was projected as a strong safety and to be taken in the fourth round by NFLDraftScout.com. The Falcons said that he will play free safety.

The Falcons still have seven picks over rounds four through seven today and still need a pass rusher.

Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) puts pressure on Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) as Georgia Bulldogs offensive tackle Kolton Houston (75) attempts to block during their game at Sanford Stadium Saturday afternoon in Athens, Ga., October 12, 2013. Missouri defeated Georgia 41-26. Murray threw for 290 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and had a fumble returned for a touchdown in the loss. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) puts pressure on Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) as Georgia Bulldogs offensive tackle Kolton Houston (75) attempts to block during their game at Sanford Stadium Saturday afternoon in Athens, Ga., October 12, 2013. Missouri defeated Georgia 41-26. Murray threw for 290 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and had a fumble returned for a touchdown in the loss. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

Could they select Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to enter the NFL draft?

Sam, who earned the SEC’s co-defensive player of the year, had 48 total tackles, 19 for a loss and led the conference with 11.5 sacks. He’s a potential edge-rusher and could be a core special teams players.

He’s been projected to be selected in the fifth round by NFLDraftScout.com

At the NFL combine we talked to Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff about Sam.

 “I really think that the NFL is quite evolved and I think it continues to be very progressive and is at the front of the curve as far as sport and as far as approaches,” Dimitroff said. “Our commissioner is at the front of that. We took his lead and it’s been a really good lead as far as being open about the next wave, the next generation of whether if it’s technology or whether if it’s acceptance.”

He was asked if drafting Sam would be a distraction in a NFL locker room (not specifically the Falcons locker room, mind you).

“I’ve always said that distractions are a matter of definition for a team,” Dimitroff said. “Some people can deal with what them … this situation shouldn’t be perceived as a distraction. This is an individual who’s being evaluated as a football player, first and foremost.

“Like any organization that is evaluating, you evaluate the player and then his character and his soul and how he projects into the NFL. That’s what it’s about.”

Here are the Falcons remaining draft picks:

  • Round 4 – No. 103 overall
  • Round 4 – No. 139 overall (compensatory)
  • Round 5 – No. 147 overall
  • Round 6 – No. 182 overall
  • Round 7 – No. 220 overall
  • Round 7 – No. 253 overall (compensatory)
  • Round 7 – No. 255 overall (compensatory)

FALCONS’ DRAFT BOARD

–A look at Louisville LB Preston Brown

–A look at Iowa TE C.J. Fiedorowicz

–A look at Texas OLB/DE Jackson Jeffcoat

–A look at West Virginia RB Charles Sims

–A look at Auburn DE Dee Ford

–A look at Brigham Young OLB Kyle Van Noy

–A look at Arizona State OLB/DE Carl Bradford

--A look at Missouri DE Kony Ealy

–A look at Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro

–A look at Alabama S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix

–A look at Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman

–A look at Boston College QB Chase Rettig

–A look at Oregon RB De’Anthony Thomas

–A look at Central Florida RB Storm Johnson

–A look at USC TE Xavier Grimble

–A look at Ohio State OT Jack Mewhort

–A look at Louisville S Calvin Prior

–A look at Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier

–A look at Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde

–A look at UCLA LB Anthony Barr

–A look at Florida State C Bryan Stork

–A look at South Carolina QB Connor Shaw

–A look at Florida TE/WR Trey Burton

–BLOG: A list of the confirmed players at LOCALS DAY on Tuesday

–BLOG: FSU linebacker Telvin Smith visited the Falcons on Monday

–Falcons check out Towson State RB Terrance West, CB Jordan Love (UGA transfer)

–MyAJC ($): Eye-test vs. Tape-measure test: Falcons must trust their eyes during draft prep. 

2014 NFL DRAFT CENTRAL

–Mock Draft 1.0: Falcons trade out of sixth spot to land Pryor and Ebron

–12 teams who could draft UGA star Aaron Murray

–Louisville LB Preston Brown to work out for the Falcons

–Louisville DE Marcus Smith to work out for the Falcons

–MyAJC ($): OT Greg Robinson, DE Dee Ford shine at Auburn’s Pro Day

–VIDEO: Tackle Greg Robinson on Auburn’s Pro Day

–VIDEO: Running back Tra Mason on Auburn’s Pro Day

–Blog & VIDEO: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd has stellar Pro Day showing

–VIDEO: Clemson WR Sammy Watkins on his Pro Day

 

81 comments
Really?!
Really?!

Since I commented on Murray's girlfriend being hot earlier I have a question for any women or even men who might know.  Is Michael Sam's boyfriend considered hot?   

POAD2014
POAD2014

Will the RAM fans go to the game with their Blue Jeans stuffed in the top of their Cowboy Boots like the old joke goes? 

WeRunTheEast
WeRunTheEast

All media (TV, radio, AJC,etc...) MUST praise Michael Sam. To do otherwise results in unemployment. I think someone who leads with their sexuality (I am gay, I am straight) probably is not interested in being judged on their achievements on the field, but rather their achievements in the bedroom.

WilliamCoit
WilliamCoit

We still don't have a rush stopper. No confidence in the FALCANTS brase.

ctfalconsfan
ctfalconsfan

We need a DE and Michael Sam in the 7th rd would be a steal.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

I don't think he hurt himself coming out of the closet, but his stats are screwed because he got nine sacks in three games. I feel teams don't think he has the skill set to be a consistent pass rusher. undrafted free agent...

FalconUGAFan
FalconUGAFan

Congrats to ALL the Georgia players selected in the draft. You two (POAD and DD) with your inferiority complexes are just to funny..and kinda sad...when you really think about it.

kerryb
kerryb

The Falcons just picked that same type of player in Prince Shembo.  They won't be picking or signing Sams.  Most teams are not going to want that distraction in their locker room.  He hurt himself by coming out of the closet.

POAD2014
POAD2014

105 players after a TECH player is taken UGa gets on the draft board.

thad#2
thad#2

No one wanted tebow because of the so called distractions.  We dont want Sam for the same reason.


POAD2014
POAD2014

Who Left the DWAGS Out? Who Who

The NFL DRAFT.................

Aztec
Aztec

According to a majority of NFL scouts he simply doesn't have the skills to play in the NFL. It has nothing to do with his sexual desires.

Esquire
Esquire

Was his decision to come out a chance at martyrdom?  Often that comes with a price.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Sam is a free agent at best. The again the gay lobby in DC will pay his salary if somebody will sign him. On game day the 1st fan that says the guy sucks will get the boot.

partlycloudy
partlycloudy

Why not sign him?  While the reports of his abilities are just so-so, give him a chance to play.  If he cannot play, then cut him.  Meanwhile, all the gay guys I know in Atlanta will come out to the games and cheer.  Sell out the games.  Give him a chance.  If he fails, it's because like many he cannot cut it in the NFL.  

TheBystander
TheBystander

Don't want the Media Circus that comes with him.


POAD2014
POAD2014

Sam could be a spokesPERSON for The EAGLE, Swinging Richard's and a few other nightclubs in the ATL.

Draft him then the New Stadium can have a PINK ZONE and some fool that will pay the price to go to Falcon games. 

HBLWWClyde
HBLWWClyde

Falcons on paper and on the field have the worst linebacker roster in the NFL.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@Really?!  you know he is HOT cause you had to take a cold shower after you watched them tonsil box on ESPN.

ldblbc
ldblbc

@WeRunTheEast  looks like you missed that whole SEC Def. Player of the Year award. Maybe you were too busy obsessing about what other people do in the privacy of their own bedroom to notice. Its not Sam's problem he came out, its yours by the sounds of it.

mgoaway
mgoaway

@kerryb  except this kid has character issue galore. look up lizzie seeberg incident, this guy is an oxygen theif.

OriginalATLien
OriginalATLien

Really POAD?? I guess this is your moral victory, enjoy it until November.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@thad#2  distraction are part of the NFL and so are MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES.

OriginalATLien
OriginalATLien

The Falcons don't need gay fans to sellout games, they do that already. Not there's there anything wrong with gay fans, I'm just saying.

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

@partlycloudy  Actually that is why you don't sign him.  Let's face it, if you sign him and he fails so miserably you need to cut him you will have many people in public thinking you are cutting him just because of his preference.  


Like it or not, his coming out makes for a very dicey situation.  Teams will take a bigger negative hit for cutting him than they would gain positively by giving him a chance.  I know it doesn't make any sense, but this is the world we live in where some groups always want to lay blame on other groups.


For my part, I think he is better than just a free agent.  He played in the the toughest conference in college football and played well.  I believe he is good enough to be drafted today despite some folks thinking he will be a free agent.

DCDirtyBird
DCDirtyBird

Signing him as a undrafted free agent would constitute giving him a chance. Draft picks are for guys you anticipate making the team.

Really?!
Really?!

@POAD2014 You fly your hate filled bigot flag proudly, huh?  Make sure and wash those white sheets so your baby mama will be proud when you pick her up at her parents house for the meeting tomorrow. 

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

@HBLWWClyde agree.........Witherspoon, nuthr TD bust is our best LB, Dent cant do much but pass rush.....iow, e SUK!

DCDirtyBird
DCDirtyBird

I disagree. We don't have big names but they are better than the Eagles and NYG LBs. Better D line play will make our LBs look a lot better.

anothercomment
anothercomment

They kissed on the lips like a married couple. His boyfriend is an attractive gay guy. He is not hot to a female, because it is obvious he is gay. Forty years ago he would have passed as a Buckhead husband and had a couple of kids with Muffy, while having affairs, with men. Then after the kids were grown as time progressed he would have come out of the closet divorced Muffey and retired to Key West or a Condo in East Atlanta with his partner. Muffy and her friends would be shocked just drowning herself in wine night after night, like she did the whole marriage. The kids knew since they were about ten.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@kerryb and most of the other TECH players that graduated will be making HUGE starting money not playing the NFL but UGa football players can't say the same now can they?

POAD2014
POAD2014

@KeepinItSimple Very TRUE BUT if he can make the team that is a large market to get to pay the new prices of the new stadium. It could hurt restaurants on Sundays with the wait staff wanting to attend games.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@Really?! No he has a HUGE market to grow as Falcon fans and ticket buyers. He could be a HUGE Marketing person for the Falcons to the large Gay community in the ATL. It wouldn't be a bad choice for the Falcons LATE in the draft and it would go a long way to openly marketing to the gay community. That is not being bigoted you fool. I will not pay for the NEW Ticket prices in the New Falcon Stadium and there are many that are not happy about prices. The Falcons wouldn't be dumb in getting to OPENLY market him to some fans that would maybe want to PAY the prices to see the first openly gay player. It is called MARKETING to make your team more attractive to NEW CUSTOMERS. Business is Business.

anothercomment
anothercomment

AJC are you going to allow this creep to call women or those he thinks are women the equivalent of the "B" word. This is ridiculous.

Dirtyb8
Dirtyb8

@anothercomment  Thats the most idiotic comment I ever seen. You do realize that there are more than one kind of engineers right? Go stick to being a house wife or whatever mediocre minimum wage job that you have.

anothercomment
anothercomment

Engineers unfortunately top out very quickly, you insecure pig called TOAD. IT is a Shame that Siemens was advertising only $90k for an experienced engineer in last weekends paper. Many want to pay less.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@Really?! NO, the Gay community likes to be DRESSED OUT so to speak. They have Slogans that say as much. I'm not saying the Gay fans have to be sold tickets in just one area but as you should know they would like to sit in an area they they feel comfortable. The Gay fans don't want feel like the REDNECK attitude will cause them problems while they spend their money and enjoy the game over getting harassed.

You are the one trying to make my statement BIGOTED.

It is BUSINESS and MARKETING to GROW the fanbase and to make ALL fans feel welcome. OPEN your mind. 

Really?!
Really?!

@POAD2014 @Really?! You REALLY want people to believe having an area called the PINK ZONE for fans of an openly gay player is not an insult? I know you're not very intelligent but you do know your bigoted slurs so you know that's being hateful.


Good try to cover up your malicious comments though.