2014 NFL Draft: Michael Sam drafted by the St. Louis Rams

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri defensive end Michael Sam was selected by the St. Louis Rams with the 34th pick in the 7th round of the NFL draft.

Sam will go down as one of the most memorable players in Missouri's history, and for too many different reasons to list. He came to Columbia as a lightly-touted, two-star end from Hitchcock, Tex., and blossomed slowly: 7.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2010, 3.0 and 1.5 in an injury-plagued 2011 campaign, 7.0 tackles and 3.5 sacks again in 2013.

Sam's motor was never in question, but he took things to a different level during Missouri's 12-2 run and top-five finish in 2013. He logged 19.0 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks, forced two fumbles, and broke up two passes. On a loaded Mizzou depth chart, Sam took charge in the middle of the season, finishing as Missouri's first consensus All-American in five decades.

Then, of course, Sam's profile got even larger when he came out of the closet. Now that he has been drafted, he becomes the NFL's first active, openly gay player. He will receive the Arthur Ashe courage award at the 2014 ESPYs. He has already become a role model for young athletes across the country, gay or straight, and now we get to find out how good an NFLer he is.

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