The best-case scenario for Sam was to find a team that could use him as a situational pass-rusher and on special teams. At 6-foot-2 and 261 pounds, he doesn't have the size to be a full-time defensive end or the athletic ability to play outside linebacker in the NFL. Sam joins a team that is flush with talented linemen (including first-round pick Aaron Donald) on a rapidly improving defense. If Sam can find a spot in a defensive end rotation that includes Chris Long and Pro Bowler Robert Quinn, he'll have ample opportunity to showcase the pass-rushing skills that resulted in 11.5 sacks last fall.
Special teams will offer even more chances for Sam to find his niche. It was difficult to find anybody at Mizzou's pro day who didn't rave about his resilient nature, which is what separates remarkable special-teamers from ordinary ones. Special teams happens to be an area in which Fisher loves to find hidden gems. Sam's ability to cover kicks or play on return units will go a long way toward deciding if his career starts off on the right foot.
The best news for Sam is that he finally has what he wants. It's impossible to know everything that was churning through his mind as the draft neared its conclusion, but fear had to be part of his thought process. It took 249 picks before Sam's name was announced at Radio City Music Hall. By that point, only a smattering of observers remained.
Before that point, according to an ESPN poll, more than 60 percent of those still watching the draft assumed Sam was going to go undrafted. With only seven picks remaining, that was the opinion from this vantage point as well. The seventh round is usually a time when teams take fliers on players that intrigue them. At that stage, teams hope to uncover a diamond in the rough.
But the Rams almost certainly put much more thought into this pick. Sam has too much talent to just write this off as a public relations move. Like every other player in this draft class, he can help the right team as long he finds the right set of circumstances.
This is why Sam should feel grateful for what transpired in the draft. He made history, and he's one step closer to realizing the dream he's sought since he donned shoulder pads for the first time. The best news for him is that this is no longer a story about what might happen if the NFL was ever faced with an openly gay player. Today, it's about what that player is going to do with his opportunity.