Defensive end Michael Sam appears set to join the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. Sam played in the preseason for the St. Louis Rams, who drafted him in the final round of the 2014 draft. He was a numbers casualty for the team with perhaps the most talent along their defensive line. Now, in contrast, Sam joins a team with possibly the least amount of talent on their defensive line. Because of this, his chances of sticking in Dallas are far greater than they were in St. Louis.
Some claim this is another big marketing move by team owner Jerry Jones. But that does not appear to be the case. It has been said Dallas did not view the defensive lineman as a great prospect coming out of Missouri. However, after seeing him play at the NFL level, the team changed their tune.
If the team was only in play for marketing they would have just taken Sam in the draft with one of their multiple late round picks. Heck, they could have signed quarterback Tim Tebow if it was all about attention. This move was simply because the team believes Michael Sam can help them at some point in the future, and I believe he will become a contributor this season.
The Cowboys cycled through one defensive linemen after another in 2013, but this is not the only reason I believe the former 2013 SEC co-defensive player of the year has a legitimate shot at cracking the regular season roster. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has a history of getting the most out of his players and Sam has shown the ability to get after the quarterback. There may not be a better teacher for the young defensive end in terms of honing this skill at the pro level.
Marinelli also employs a rotation with his defensive line. He likes to rotate roughly eight men along the line to keep attacking offenses with fresh players. Using a pass rushing specialist would never be an issue for him. And Sam would not have to be an every down player in Dallas, which could benefit him greatly.
Overall, Michael Sam showed up on preseason tape more than several of the guys Dallas currently has on their defensive line. All he has to do is continue to work hard and eventually his time will come.