Pro football | NFL Draft

Rams draft Sam, NFL's first openly-gay player

2014-05-10T18:33:00Z 2014-05-10T20:17:20Z Rams draft Sam, NFL's first openly-gay playerThe Associated Press The Associated Press
May 10, 2014 6:33 pm  • 

It took a few hours on the final day of the NFL draft for A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger to finally hear their names called.

It took much longer, but Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to enter the draft, heard his in the seventh and final round.

Sam was taken 249th out of 256 picks, by St. Louis. There was applause at Radio City Music Hall from the slim crowd on hand.

Scouts had pegged him to be a mid- to late-round selection, but he didn't perform well at the combine; some questioned whether he would be drafted at all.

The star quarterbacks of the SEC went earlier, but will be long shots to become early starters in the pros.

McCarron led Alabama to two national titles, but had to wait until the 164th overall spot to be selected by Cincinnati. Georgia's Murray went one pick earlier Saturday to Kansas City. LSU's Mettenberger didn't go until the sixth round, to Tennessee.

After two days of sticking with defensive players, the Bears addressed other aspects of the team on the final day of the NFL draft while also filling an obvious need at safety.

The Bears drafted Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey as a backup to Matt Forte in the fourth round, then traded Denver their fifth-round picks for 2014 and 2015 to move into the bottom of the fourth round and get safety Brock Vereen from Minnesota. Vereen is the younger brother of Patriots running back Shane Vereen.

They closed the final day by picking San Jose State quarterback David Fales and Miami punter Michael O'Donnell in Round 6 and Boise State offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. in Round 7. Carey, the 117th pick overall, is a 5-foot-9, 207-pounder who skipped his senior year to come out for the draft. The Pac-12 offensive player of the year, Carey finished with 22 100-yard rushing games and an average of 117.8 yards rushing per game.

Colts general manager and Highland grad Ryan Grigson focused on defense Saturday. They added Ball State pass rusher Jonathan Newsome in the fifth round, inside linebacker Western Kentucky linebacker Andrew Jackson in the sixth round and Georgia State offensive tackle Ulrick John in the seventh round. Newsome, a 6-foot-3, 236-pound defensive end, is the first Ball State player ever drafted by the Colts.

Homewood-Flossmoor grad and Tennessee senior Zach Fulton was selected by the Chiefs as the 17th pick of the sixth round.

Fulton said he knows he has to prove himself right off the bat.

"That's my plan," Fulton said. "I talked with (head coach) Andy Reid and the line coaches, the GM (general amanher John Dorsey) and and I feel comfortable with their blocking (scheme). I am looking forward to competing."

Fulton said he will leave today for Kansas City.

Fulton started in 40 of the 47 games he played at Tennessee In 2013, he started all 12 games at right guard. He made 11 starts in 2012.

In 2011, Fulton and the Volunteers offensive line allowed just 18 sacks.

"That is something we pride ourselves as linemen," he said. "I went up against some great defensive linemen in the SEC. It really prepared me."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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