Admittedly, after Michael Sam's performance at the combine and studying tape of him at Missouri, I didn't think Sam had much of a future in the NFL. My initial thought was that Sam lacked the strength, speed, athleticism and size to make much of an impact as a defensive end and would not be much of an open-field tackler on special teams.
His measurables ranked among the worst at the combine regardless of position. A deficiency that large rarely translates into anything positive in the NFL.
Despite all of this, Sam has played much better than anticipated.
With three preseason games in the books, Sam has thrived on the defensive side of the ball, making several big plays in the backfield and chasing after quarterbacks.
In Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns, Sam had perhaps his most impressive play to date, one that might have put him over the edge in the battle for a roster spot.
Fellow Bleacher Report writer Cian Fahey appears to agree. Following Sam's Week 3 performance, Fahey tweeted, "Based exclusively on his play on the field, Michael Sam deserves the chance to get past the first round of cuts and compete in Week 4."
Without hesitation, the rookie DE executed a clean move around the edge to beat the right tackle, which he finished with a nice rip move, freeing his path to one of the more slippery QBs in the NFL. After Sam finished his sack on Johnny Manziel, he displayed a little showmanship by throwing up Manziel's signature money sign.
This was exactly the type of play Sam needed in order to continue the positive momentum as we head toward the end of the exhibition phase.