- Mike Wells, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS -- ESPN’s NFL Nation reporters gave a quick take on if the team’s they cover would draft Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam and then gave a "high, medium or low" rating on the chance of them drafting him.
I said the chances are low that the Indianapolis Colts would draft Sam. It's not because Sam isn’t talented, it's not an easy feat to win SEC Defensive Player of the Year and in the best conference in college football. Sam, who publicly acknowledged he was gay earlier this week, had 10.5 sacks last season at Missouri.
Sam could end up being a pass-rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, which is the system Colts coach Chuck Pagano runs. The Colts drafted Bjoern Werner last season, but it’s also not too early to start thinking about finding a replacement for league-sack leader Robert Mathis, who turns 33 later this month.
NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. sees Sam as a fourth or fifth rounder and he compared him to Mathis in being that he's an undersized defensive lineman (6-1, 250).
The problem is the Colts don’t have a full cupboard of draft picks (second, third, fifth and seventh rounds) to deal with. They have more pressing needs than adding a pass-rusher.
If you’re talking about help on the defensive line, the Colts could look to add some beef in the middle at defensive tackle. The Colts need a run stuffer and somebody who can command double teams up the middle.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Colts would have no problem welcoming Sam inside their locker room. It's a family atmosphere within the organization.