Tomasso DeRosa/AP; Elsa/Getty Images; Joe Robbins/Getty Images; Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images
Tomasso DeRosa/AP; Elsa/Getty Images; Joe Robbins/Getty Images; Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

The 2014 NFL Draft: Sealed With a Kiss

From Johnny Manziel's long wait on Thursday to Michael Sam's dramatic moment on Saturday, this year's NFL draft will go down in history. Plus, an NFC GM continues his trade prowess and a Ram infiltrates the Falcons' draft room

Where do you start after a weekend like this? Choose one:

  1. The Michael Sam saga, which couldn’t have been more dramatic if the Coen brothers had scripted it.
  2. The Johnny Manziel story, which blew every sports story out of the water for two days. Wait until you hear his Twitterverse dominance. It’s something like you’ve never seen.
  3. The Browns. The rags-to-riches-to-rags, bizarro-world, “Factory of Sadness” 24 hours that no Dawg Pounder will ever forget.
  4. Jerry Jones, 71, growing up before our very eyes.
  5. Buffalo going for broke, all in, chips to the center, and whatever other blah-blah-blah poker analogies you want to use about Doug Whaley putting his job on the line in his first full year as a GM.
  6. Damn these ridiculous, incredible, sick NFL draft TV ratings. The May draft might be here to stay. (#Sadface. #Giveusbackourspring.) Congrats to Jacksonville GM David Caldwell not only for drafting his quarterback of the future (the Jags hope), but also for putting the late draft into perspective and hoping Roger Goodell is listening. “I’m all for whatever is good for the league,” he said Saturday, “but I haven’t seen any indication that pushing the draft back is good for football. It sure didn’t help us at all.”
  7. It’s Trent Baalke’s drafting world, and we’re only visiting it.
  8. Footsteps by Jimmy Garoppolo. Tom Brady shakes.

My pick: Sam. An emotional, cool, explosive moment, with Sam getting the call from Rams GM Les Snead telling him he’d been drafted with the 249th pick. “Man, was he emotional,” Snead said Sunday morning. “I could feel it over the phone.” Snead handed the phone to coach Jeff Fisher, with Sam tearing up and slowly, slowly, slow folding over and weeping, his male partner there to comfort him. On national TV. It’s a scene we haven’t seen in American TV history (and certainly not in American sports history), thankfully running unedited and uninterrupted by ESPN. And then Sam kissed the man. The world is changing, and the Rams and Sam and the NFL and ESPN made a seminal moment of it Saturday. If you think that moment of Sam bending over and audibly weeping isn’t going to be replayed scores of times for sporting and societal reasons, you’re wrong. Way wrong.

“I could feel the pivot in history at that moment, with that phone call,” Snead said.

The MMQB On '14 Draft

Robert Klemko on Michael Sam’s giant leap. FULL STORY

 

Ten later-round picks who could have a big impact. FULL STORY


Josh Gordon’s potential suspension casts a pall on Manziel Mania in Cleveland. FULL STORY


Peter King on the boldest move of the draft—Buffalo’s big Sammy Watkins gamble. FULL STORY

 

Jenny Vrentas on first round’s wild ride. FULL STORY


Greg Bedard’s first-round breakdown. FULL STORY

 

Late Saturday night, after the Rams finished signing their undrafted free agents, Fisher and COO Kevin Demoff sat in the coach’s office and read through the messages and Tweets of support. They read these words from President Obama: “From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.” And this Tweet from Ellen Degeneres: “So proud of the @STLouisRams for showing there’s nothing to be afraid of.” And this from singer John Legend: “Congratulation to Michael Sam. It’s a victory for love.” And this from former Saint and current ALS beacon Steve Gleason: “Great moment in US sports history.”

Fisher and Demoff were moved by the reaction. “It was a reminder of the power of the NFL,” Demoff said, “and how we could use the power for something good.”

“I wish I could have digested it and take it all in,” said Snead. “I’ve never been part of a decision that brought people to tears. But I couldn’t really embrace the moment, because we were so close to the end of the draft, and we had to mute the TV so we could get going on our undrafted free-agent class.”

GALLERY: Players reacting to being drafted

Sam will have a huge task ahead of him. Want the good news? Of the 53 men on St. Louis’ opening-day roster last year, 18 entered the league undrafted, and another three were seventh-round picks. And new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams loves the desperate underdog; a seventh-rounder on any roster is an underdog. The bad news: Incumbent ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long are franchise cornerstones, and sub William Hayes is a productive rusher. Those three are set in stone. There will be either one or two more defensive ends kept, and Sam was the only one drafted. It won’t help Sam that he probably won’t be a good special-teams player because his mediocre flexibility and quick-twitch movement. He’ll have to star in camp and the preseason as what Snead labels the “DPR”—designated pass-rusher.

But he’ll have a chance. And the Rams are perhaps the best spot for him. It’s two hours from where he went to school, and the media is largely friendly, and wherever he went Wolf Blitzer or Anderson Cooper would have been part of the early days of training camp. The Rams know it, and Jeff Fisher can handle it. I will be surprised if Sam’s fate with the Rams is determined on anything other than whether he can be productive rushing the passer.

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903 comments
ShaneMac
ShaneMac

For the most part Mr. King, a pretty good article.  I am a man of no biases but my only complaint on the Michael Sam issue was not the immediate showing of the impact and emotion of the selection of Mr. Sam and his celebratory embraces with his partner, but with the latter tones of self-congratulatory behavior shown by the St. Louis Rams, the NFL, ESPN and now you, Mr. King.   We all knew whichever team that drafted or signed Mr. Sam were to be championed at breaking a tolerance barrier long overdue in an overt way in the NFL.  We finally know of one player in the midst of dozens that are perhaps trying to express that their choices are also acceptable.  It will be slow in coming in this league especially but there is hope.

So, now time for a joke.

ShaneMac
ShaneMac

If Sam Bradford married Michael Sam, he would be Sam Sam.

ColoradoVentura
ColoradoVentura

A film company I work with put together a funny parody about the NFL draft. Give it a watch and if you like it could you share it for us on Facebook or Instagram http://youtu.be/JoLgtM1dGSc and defiantly let me know what you think about it


EarlineJSmith
EarlineJSmith

ᴊᴜsᴛ ᴀs Rᴏᴅɴᴇʏ ɪᴍᴘʟɪᴇᴅ I'ᴍ ɪᴍᴘʀᴇssᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴀ ᴘᴇʀsᴏɴ ᴄᴀɴ ᴇᴀʀɴ $4074 ɪɴ 4 ᴡᴇᴇᴋs ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜᴛᴇʀ . ᴛʜɪs ʟɪɴᴋ 



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tdrurak
tdrurak

I find it unbelievable how much hatred there is in this world.  It's so sad.  That was a great article Peter.

Thomas15
Thomas15

Black Americans who don't tune in to michael sam's reality TV show every week are homophobes.

White Americans who don't tune in every week, are homophobes AND racists. 


And for the record: when human beings have a visceral reaction to a hissing snake, they don't HATE the snake per se. It is not a considered, contemplative action. It is not an intellectual action. They don't call them GUT-reactions for nothing.  But rather have in their DNA some lesson handed down by evolution through the centuries. Hissing snakes are dangerous. 


For that reason the vast majority of men who are repulsed sometimes to the point of physical sickness by the sight of a man kissing a man, or even the thought of it, are not evil homophobes, bent on persecution. Like the example of the hissing snake, they too have in their DNA some knowledge handed down by evolution; men kissing men is wrong. NOT morally wrong. Religion has nothing to do with this. I imagine it has to do with the survival of the species, just as the hissing snake does on a more individual level. 


But I refuse to be demonized because something turns my stomach. Either there's something wrong with me. Or there's something wrong with that behavior. I know which it is. And men should have to take a beating because they have the guts to say it out loud. 

SteveRowFla
SteveRowFla

I bet my wife that Michael Sam would be the lead, and we'd be beaten over the head with him by PK.  I win.

CGGymDog
CGGymDog

You know, one thing I would have liked to see Peter address was the antics of Jon Gruden on ESPN. As much as he was touting Manziel as The Next Big Thing, you'd have thought he was getting a fee from Manziel's agent. 

Buck2185
Buck2185

Peter, why you and other writers keep writing about the POS Sam is only making the problem worse. Wasn't the kiss, on national television, enough for you? Great lesson for our children. It is apparent you like that kind of thing since you can't stop covering it. Please do the majority of us a favor and go suck face with Sam in private and quit writing about him...

Jon1979
Jon1979

Since the Browns have said they don't expect Manziel to be their starting quarterback to begin the season, and since the Rams pretty much have their starting defensive ends set in place for 2014, come August 23 we could see the most media coverage ever of the fourth quarter of a preseason football game.


St Louis at Cleveland. First home game of the season for the Browns. First road game for the Rams and a final period where -- once the subs come in -- could see Michael Sam trying to chase down Johnny Manziel. They may not even both doing any highlights on SportsCenter that night of any part of the game before 10 p.m.

Catch2209
Catch2209

Why have cameras at a gay bar for the draft? My problem with the whole thing being played out on espn is as a white straight male can I have a white only straight bar? Gays get what they want, blacks have affirmative action, Hispanics get free health care. As a white married father where can I go? Can I open a white only bar for men who like women? Protesters would shut it down. I don't watch football with my son to watch black and white guys tongue each other. It was a sad day for America that this crap was on espn. It was the last place I expected it. Ufc here I come

Googie
Googie

Mr. King....the world can change and you can feast your eyes on two men kissing.....but for me and just about

anyone I know, I'll reach for the remote, or look the other way and have no guilt in doing so....Just because the

"world is changing" does not mean I have to accept it or praise it or believe in it.


SkokieDog
SkokieDog

"The world is changing, and the Rams and Sam and the NFL and ESPN made a seminal moment of it Saturday." 

Peter, I believe that your Freudian slip is showing. 

largebill68
largebill68

Peter, Some reporter needs to ask NFL about the disparity in their punishment system. Ray Rice beats his girlfriend unconscious and gets no punishment. Another guy smokes some weed and faces a year long suspension. Really? Is that how NFL views the two offenses?

vinskyvin
vinskyvin

This is no big deal , watching the fruit brute kissing his whatever, gross.He is a very sick man.my condolences to his family

davidhd
davidhd

Michael Sam being gay shouldn't be a story, but oh well, let those that care have a celebration. The only problem, for him, is that he was drafted by a team with a great young defensive line, and he might not play a whole lot, like many other 7th round picks. He might have been better off not being drafted, ironically, because he could have signed with a team with a less competitive defensive line situation. 

KevinBrown2
KevinBrown2

If we're not suppose to care about other people's sexual orientation, why do we obsess about a 7th round draft pick? Why would someone feel compelled to make a public statement about their sexual orientation, for that matter? Apparently Sam thinks we ought to care. If it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. You can't have it both ways.

madmanTX
madmanTX

The error in the Darvish near no-hitter wasn't a factor, so why mention it? That's a bit of saying "this is what my argument was going to be had my beloved Red Sox been no hit". You won't hear Ranger fans whining about Darvish not getting the no no. There's a reason why the rest of the county hates NY and Boston teams and their fans: whining.

daveg2011
daveg2011

OK enough about sam....is being gay the cool thing to be right now???

not right for 2 men kissing on national tv....what does that say to our youth??? not OK!!!!!

Mat X
Mat X

So a quip about New England loving slot receivers and no mention of Wes Welker?  Zzzzzzzzzz

leon1376
leon1376

Sorry, Peter King, "the world" is not changing - only Europe with a bearded woman singer and America with two men French-kissing. About a billion Muslims think the western world is slowly going insane. Ditto that for another billion Chinese a couple hundred million Russians. All the "two guys kissing" video has done is give Iran and al-Qaeda bulletin board material. 

Bahia
Bahia

peter king was really unique in the beginning when he wrote about stories that were behind the scene in the world of the NFL, but it's not simple anymore because of the nfl's popularity and political issues such as brain injuries, guns, political correctness, and acceptance of homosexuality. And he took a political stance based upon his personal belief for which he would be judged. i suppose you can read don banks if you want to avoid the politics, but peter king has now established himself as who he is.

Buck2185
Buck2185

@tdrurak What are you talking about? The article sucked, as does anything that comes from Peter....

BushidoBrownsRevenge
BushidoBrownsRevenge

@Thomas15  Im scared of hissing snakes because they can be dangerous and I dont remember any white people being called racist for not watching "Homeboys in outer space." Im not going to watch Micheal Sam's or AJ McCarron's reality show. I dont think that makes me a racist homophobe.

el80ne
el80ne

@CGGymDog Dude, Gruden does that just about every year for the QBs he sees as the stars of the class. You should have heard him in 2012 when he was promoting RG3 and Russell Wilson. He kept ripping the Rams for sticking with Bradford and almost grawled with Kiper for his dissing on Wilson. Gruden's very passionate when he he falls in love with a QB he has on his camp.

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@Catch2209  Here's a hint: white straight people can go to gay bars frequented by other races if they like.  They're not racist bigots.  You are.  

BillRobinson
BillRobinson

Poor dear! I can't think of a white suburban community where you would have a problem finding a bar that has a white straight clientele. Why would you want one though? I feel sorry for your son.

Joss Wilson
Joss Wilson

@Googie  I bet you are one of these believers in "God." Newflash gay people are real, god isnt

BushidoBrownsRevenge
BushidoBrownsRevenge

@largebill68  Ray Rice has not been punished yet. Who knows what will happen once the legal system plays out. There is no public video of Rice striking her either. Gordon has failed his second drug test with his employers. The penalty for Gordon is excessive but they have the proof in the urine sample.

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@vinskyvin  And mine to yours, as well as your friend and anyone with whom you interact.  

Folsom49er
Folsom49er

@davidhd



I hope Sam makes the Team & contributes so we can get away from what has become the "Sam's World" Media Extravaganza!

I'm happy for him but My Lord he's getting more Pub than Clowney & Manziel put together!

Look forward to having this Circus end tomorrow for at least a few weeks after Sam's News Conference (on a 7th Rounder)

ChitownTexan
ChitownTexan

@madmanTX  my thoughts exactly. Errors are stupid anyway. If an old slow short stop can't get to a ball in the gap it's a hit, but if a young fast short stop gets there but can't make the difficult play then it's an error. Stupid. If a guy gets on, it should be a hit instead of some arbitrary judgement about what might have happened. 


Plus, if you're going to have errors they should account for a ball falling directly between two players who were close enough to make the play but erred in communication. If you were rooting against the no-hitter, then you want that play to be a hit. If you were rooting for it, you want it to be an error.



dgm2126
dgm2126

@madmanTX  I dunno, Red Sox and Yankees have five titles between them since the turn of the century, to Texas' none ever. Maybe that's why you hate them. 

acieearl
acieearl

@daveg2011  It says that it is OK to love someone unconditionally, if you cannot explain that to your son, daughter or any other "youth" it is your problem.

dgm2126
dgm2126

@leon1376  So you're saying your on Al-Qaeda's side, basically. 

acieearl
acieearl

@leon1376  Good point, I guess we should consider al-Qaeda's feelings the next time two men or women kiss on television.  Make sure you don't look at the Swimsuit issue when it comes out we don't want Ayman al-Sawahiri to find out.

bofureturn
bofureturn

@leon1376  i guess king thinks the world means a few hundred million white western liberals.

leon1376
leon1376

@Bahia  Peter King has always been part of the Nancy Pelosi wing of the loony left. When I used to read him I'd be amused at how he'd work Man-made Global Warming or an anti-gun sneer into seemingly every article. He always struck me as being something of a pretentious, full of himself, supercilious fop. An American Piers Morgan, if you will. Imagine how thrilled he's going to  be when the first Conchita Wurst look-alike cheerleader shows up on the Cowboys sidelines. Gay and transvestite cheerleaders in the NFL! Woo-hoo!  

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@Bahia  Yeah, it's amazing the anger people voice in the comments here.  There are lots of football writers - if King's opinions make you that angry, why are you here?  Some of these people are just crying for attention.

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@vinskyvin  That should've been "friends".  The implication that you only have one friend, while quite possibly accurate given your unpleasant commentary, was accidental.

davidhd
davidhd

@VanHayhow @KevinBrown2  I agree with Kevin Brown 2, and here's why: 10 years ago, Michael Sam's coming out would have been courageous and newsworthy, but now? 


Nowadays an NBA owner loses his team for making a private racist comment, we have several openly gay athletes in other sports who are not only free from any public or private backlash, but are actually celebrated and applauded, we have gay rights marches in every city, we have gay marriage winning every court battle and those that oppose it being marginalized and shouted at in the media, with their churches being vandalized and their beliefs shamed, and being anti gay is far more likely to get you into trouble than actually being gay. I'm glad to live in a time with this type of acceptance and tolerance for all different cultures, lifestyles, and orientations, and I'm happy about all things peaceful and loving, but don't tell me someone is "courageous" for coming out nowadays.


Michael Sam came out at a time when coming out is celebrated, applauded, respected, and popular. He did nothing but help himself by doing so, and he probably wouldn't have been drafted otherwise. 



acieearl
acieearl

@leon1376 @Bahia  newsflash, there are plenty of lesbian/bi-sexual female cheerleaders in the nfl already. Are you oppose to them or only when men kiss?

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@Go_Niners! @Bahia King's opinions don't make these dimwits angry.  These dimwits are angry 24 hours a day.  They thrive on anger.  Listen to conservative hate radio and anger is basically all you get.


I think they're mad because their kind is going down the road to extinction.  Think of them as dodo birds.

el80ne
el80ne

@davidhd @VanHayhow@KevinBrown2I'm not sure I agree. So what that they've come out in other sports? The barrier hadn't been broken in football, considered the most physical and 'alpha' of the major American sports. You're right that right now is a time when this stuff is being celebrated and applauded, but that's only by a vocal minority in the news media blowing it up. The reason they do is because it's still a shock to a lot of people, as you can tell here on this thread. Until it gains mainstream acceptance then to treat it as 'no big deal' when clearly most of society has other ideas, isn't being cognizant of the reality.

DoAStrikeout
DoAStrikeout

@RS#20 @MoeLarryAndJesus @Go_Niners! @Bahia  It's Judeo not Jew Dao. Look up the word Dao for some further context on why this is funny to me and others who know the word :D.


Also, the word Judeo in the term Judeo-Christian, which I think is what you were going for but missed, refers only to the Jewish half of the equation. 

RS#20
RS#20

@MoeLarryAndJesus @Go_Niners! @Bahia  I am a conservative Christian I guess what you would call a Dodo bird. From the handful of your posts I've read all I see from you is name calling, snide remarks and anger. And from your strong defense of Peter King I'm thinking you may be gay yourself. Whether you are or not, just think about living as a gay person in a country that has not been influenced by Jew Dao/

Christian values. 


You'd probably miss us Dodo birds then.

ShaneMac
ShaneMac

@RS#20 :   It's Judeo/ Christian values.  You're welcome.

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