Just reading that name invokes emotion. Not because he’s gay, but because he’s been rammed down the throats of NFL audiences for well over a half year. Every TV Channel, Radio Station, News Conglomerate, Sports Organization, Twitter Account and Blogger in the free world has had an opinion on Michael Sam and his preferences away from the gridiron.
That said, the kid can play football — and now, he’s a free agent. So it’s on the table and the question is:
Should the New York Giants Pursue Michael Sam?
Outside of Michael Sam’s sexuality, the fact is that he can rush the passer. He’s a quality DE that can play and fit well in the Giants defensive scheme. Currently, the Giants have:
The question becomes, is Michael Sam a better option than any of these players?
Now, Kiwi and JPP aren’t going anywhere for Michael Sam, that’s obvious. However, with Moore, Ayers and Wynn the battle becomes more interesting. Now, we can use speculation as that’s always fun, but recently, Big Blue View did a post titled, Pro Football Focus Review of the Preseason Defense. Obviously this isn’t the be-all-end-all in being accurate, but it “might” be better than speculation:
The standout: This should be as easy as guessing Corey Washington as the standout for the Wide Receiver group. It is, of course, Damontre Moore, who’s +4.6 is not only the best defensive grade on the team, but ranks 4th amongst all passrushers. He’s had four sacks, two quarterback hits, and four hurries thus far, but it isn’t just his pass rush grade that’s been impressive, it’s all his work against the run. Not only does he have the league’s seventh-best pass rush productivity, but ranks third in run stop percentage as well. A true two-way force.
The disappointment: Bet you thought it was Jason Pierre-Paul, right? Nah. Not even close. Markus Kuhn has a grade of -4.3, mostly for his work (or lack thereof) in the run game. He really needs to get it together because there are some really talented players on this defensive line ready to take his spot.
The surprise: I didn’t know what to think of this defensive line, but it’s been the most impressive group of this team thus far. It’s true, Jason Pierre-Paul has the worst grade of the top four defensive ends on the roster, but that grade is +1.8. JPP has racked up five pressures thus far along with some good work in the run game, while Robert Ayers (+3.8) and Mathias Kiwanuka (+3.0) have added six pressures each to go with Damontre’s 10. The Giants even have the league leader in pressures in Kerry Wynn (+2.2), who has 11.
This information seems to suggest the Giants don’t need Michael Sam, but let’s at least look at the numbers. In a very recent article from Bleacher Report titled, Michael Sam’s Preseason Play Shows He Can Be Effective NFL Player, they went over Michael Sam’s production. Here’s a sample:
Moreover, Sam had a higher overall grade than Chris Long, Eugene Sims, Kendall Langford, Alex Carrington and Matt Conrath. Preseason or not, production is production, and you can’t argue with the numbers Sam amassed.
In 77 pass-rush snaps, Sam tallied three quarterback sacks, two quarterback hits and four quarterback hurries. That means he averaged a quarterback pressure once every 8.5 pass-rush snaps.
Those numbers aren’t too bad, however, they aren’t Earth shattering either. The reality is that Michael Sam is a rookie that is flashing inconsistencies as well as dominance.
For the New York Giants, they could certainly use some dominance, but they already have their fair share of inconsistencies on the roster. Making the addition of Michael Sam no sure thing from a production stand point.
Michael Sam: Bottom Line
Every team in the NFL can use a pass rusher. That’s right, all 32 National Football League teams can use a pass rusher… the important thing to note here is that Michael Sam isn’t yet a pass rusher. He’s a risk that takes up a roster spot. He’s NOT a risk because he’s gay, he’s a risk because he has zero NFL experience.No, the preseason doesn’t count and either does his production in it against the back-up players of the NFL. That’s not to say his performance wasn’t impressive or that the results can’t be evaluated the same way that a regular season NFL game can be broken down.
It simply means that NFL franchises put a lot of value into their 53 roster spots. While they can’t always have proven commodities, seventh round draft picks that get cut in August don’t always have much value. In the case of Michael Sam, his value is in pure pass rush potential, while he’s actually a liability against the run. Meaning that he would have to come off the field.
After watching this preseason, the Jints need help all over the field. Now — is that help Michael Sam and his pass rushing skills? We don’t know. What we do know and what we figure is that one NFL team will pick up Michael Sam, because he has a future in this business. Will that team be the New York Giants? Your guess, Giants Nation, is as good as ours.