2014 NFL Draft Chatter, 2/13/2014: Michael Sam's Draft Stock, Sammy Watkins' Transition and More

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Oct 19, 2013; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) celebrates after sacking Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) (not pictured) during the second half at Faurot Field. Missouri won 36-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL combine takes place in just over two weeks, so the hype machine is kicking into high gear in anticipation of this year’s NFL Draft. Mock drafts are popping up at every corner, with every bit of breaking news about a player shifting his stock up and down the draft board.

The Buccaneers, led in the draft room by new GM Jason Licht, have a tough task ahead of them with the seventh pick in a draft that isn’t loaded with players at positions of need for the team. The Buccaneers don’t have many holes on their roster, but where they do lack (defensive end, quarterback, guard), there aren’t going to be viable options there at the seventh position.

That said, there are going to be talented players available, and it’s up to Licht and his team to figure out the best one to pick for the Bucs.

With that in mind, here are some more bits of draft information that may impact the Buccaneers.

Michael Sam’s Draft Stock

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Missouri defensive end Michael Sam came out as gay this past week. And while this announcement doesn’t change anything in my eyes (he’s still an undersized, mediocre pass rusher who will likely be a fifth or sixth round pick), it’s certainly stirred up plenty of conversation around the NFL community.

Sports Illustrated interviewed “anonymous NFL sources” who largely downgraded Sam’s stock after his announcement, claiming that the league isn’t ready for a gay player. Peter King’s MMQB included more anonymous input from NFL folks, which was again largely negative.

While I don’t believe a player’s sexuality matters at all, there are clearly those in the NFL who believe differently. The truth about Sam is that he’s a mediocre draft prospect with a bright spotlight on him at the moment. If he slips into the seventh round, he’d provide a decent value for a team looking to add a productive pass rusher from the SEC, but that team has to be ready for the media onslaught that would follow.

That said, if he’s available when the Buccaneers pick in the seventh round, and Lovie Smith thinks his team is ready to accept a gay player, I’d be happy to see Sam added to the Bucs.

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