NFL Draft prospect Michael Sam came out as gay to the nation Sunday evening via prominent media channels.
Sam, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, says he came out to his teammates at the University of Missouri in August 2013. The team went on to play in the SEC Championship.
Sports Illustrated's web site posted an article quoting an unnamed "veteran NFL scout" as saying about Sam's NFL Draft stock: "I just know with this going on this is going to drop him down."
Should that be the case, Sports Sunday host Michael Felger believes Sam would be targeted by the New England Patriots.
"From the Patriots angle I love this," Felger said. "This is exactly the kind of guy they love -- production -- and for some reason [if] he drops down the board -- Aaron Hernandez because of his questionable past; or Rob Gronkowski because of his back.
Literally, if the guy can play and he drops a couple of rounds and the Pats can get him for a few bucks less, this is the perfect guy: 11.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Now he's sitting there in the sixth or the seventh round because the League is scared of this guy? That's a Patriot to me."
Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, a guest on Sports Sunday, expressed doubt New England would make a play for Sam.
"It brings with it the distractions of the media circus," Shaughnessy said. "They don't invite that, as you know. I know that there's always the feeling 'we're better than that, we can get around that.' I don't know about this one."
The Patriots brought in quarterback Tim Tebow, a player to whom the media flocks, for its 2013 training camp. He did not make the opening day 53-man roster.