Red Zone

The Chiefs and NFL by beat writer Terez Paylor

Would the Chiefs draft Michael Sam? In later rounds, perhaps

02/11/2014 5:37 PM

02/11/2014 6:14 PM

The Chiefs could face an interesting decision on the third day of the NFL Draft.

Do they take Missouri defensive end/linebacker Michael Sam?

It’s doubtful the Chiefs, who don’t have a second-round pick, would use a third-round pick on Sam, who is trying to become the first openly gay player to play in the NFL.

Sam’s talents are considered as worth a third-round pick at best, and the Chiefs have bigger needs to fill.

But on day three, when the draft concludes with rounds four through seven, the Chiefs will have to take a good look at Sam, the SEC defensive player of the year who had 11 1/2 sacks in 2013.

Sam projects as a situational pass rusher, and the Chiefs have a pair of Pro Bowlers at outside linebacker in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. But Hali just turned 30 and Houston, 25, is entering the final year of his contract.

The primary backups at outside linebacker left a little to be desired. Frank Zombo, a demon on special teams, made little impact on defense when he filled in for an injured Houston during the last month of the season. And Dezmon Moses, claimed on waivers from Green Bay on opening week, contributed little, fell behind rookie free agent Josh Martin and was not even active for the wild card playoff game at Indianapolis.

Sam may lack the measurables to be a starter in the NFL, but he has the athleticism and desire it takes to play special teams and contribute as a situational pass rusher.

If the Chiefs don’t draft him, rest assured, someone will.

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