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Jeff Fisher and 7th Rounders

Most years, football fans don’t pay attention to the late rounds of the NFL draft. There’s even a derogatory term for the last man picked in the seventh and final round: Mr. Insignificant.

But 2014 was different. It featured what may be the most interesting late round on record, with openly gay defensive end Michael Sam drafted in the seventh round, 249th overall, by the St. Louis Rams.

Sam was the 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the year when he played at Missouri. Out of all the men who have won that award, he was picked latest in the draft. In fact, every other winner in the past eight years was drafted in the first round – including C.J. Mosley, with whom Sam shared the award this year.

The general consensus now is that Sam faces very long odds of actually making the Rams due to his late draft pick. That prompted us to look at how other seventh-round picks have performed under teams coached by current Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher.

The results are surprising. To begin with, all but six of Fisher’s 27 seventh-round draft picks saw time on the field under his coaching. Furthermore, only two never played in the NFL.

In total, Fisher’s 25 NFL-bound draftees have played in 821 games, for an average of more than 32 games per player.

Lastly, some critics hold that Sam’s size may prevent him from making the team. Sam is a ‘tweener,” meaning that at 6’2”, 261 lbs.,  he is in between the traditional sizes for a linebacker and a defensive end. However, a lot of players that size made a significant impact last year. Sam’s height and weight are comparable to that of four of the top 10 sack masters from last year. Okay, maybe three, because Mathis admitted that he took PEDs. The other three are Junior Galette, 6’2″, 257 lbs.; John Abraham, 6’4″, 256 lbs.; Olivier Vernon, 6’2″, 261 lbs.

YearDraft PicksPlayersGames PlayedPosition
1995 Titans
1CJ Richardson1 game for Arizona in 1995. 14 games for Seattle in 1997.DB
1996 Titans1Mike Archie23 games, all under Fisher from 96-98.LB
1997 Titans1Armon Williams6 games for Fisher in 1997.DB
1998 Titans2Jimmy Sprotte and Kevin LongSprotte didn't play for Fisher. He played in 5 games in 1998 and 4 games in 1999 for Cincinnati. Long played in 63 games for the Fisher from '98 until 2001. Sprotte, LB. Long, C.
1999 Titans1Phil GloverPlayed in 1 game for the Titans in 1999. He played 9 games for the Colts in 2000.LB
2000 Titans2Mike Green and Wes ShiversGreen played in 32 games for Tennessee from 2000 until 2002. Shivers played in 3 games for Atlanta in 2000.Green, RB. Shivers, T.
2001 Titans1Keith AdamsDidn't play for Fisher, but played in 85 games between 2001-2007.LB
2002 Titans2Darrell HIll and Carlos HallHill played in 33 games for Fisher from 2002 until 2004. Hall played in 45 games for Tennessee and 14 for Kansas City. Hall had a four-year career.Hill, WR. Hall, DE.
2003 Titans1Todd WilliamsPlayed in 7 games for Fisher over two years. G
2004 Titans3Jared Clauss, Eugene Amano, and Sean McHughClauss played in 29 games in a two-year career. Amano had a nine-year career and played in 124 games under Fisher. McHugh didn't play for Fisher, but had a five-year career with three teams, playing in 40 games. Clauss, DT. Amano, C. McHugh, FB.
2005 Titans1Reynaldo HillPlayed in 48 games over 4 years for Tennessee. DB
2006 Titans3Cortland Finnegan, Spencer Toone, and Quinton GantherFinnegan is still in the NFL and has played in 116 games, all but one year has been under Fisher. Toone played in 3 games. Ganther played in 36 games for four teams. He played for Fisher for three years. Finnegan, DB. Toone, LB. Ganther, RB.
2007 Titans1Michael OttoHe is still in the league. He's played in 62 games, all under Fisher.T
2008 Titans1Cary WilliamsStill in the NFL. Has played in 71 games for three different teams. Played for Fisher for a year and a half. DB
2009 Titans2Nick Schommer and Ryan DurandSchommer played in 13 games. All under Fisher. Durand played in 1 game over two years with the Titans. Schommer, DB. Durand, G.
2010 Titans2 Marc Mariani and David HowardMariani has played in 32 game for the Titans. Howard was signed by four different teams, but hasn't made an appearance in the NFL.Mariani, WR. Howard, DT.
2012 Rams2 Aaron Brown and Daryl RichardsonBrown didn't play in the NFL. Richardson has played in 23 games over the last two years, all under Fisher. Brown, LB. Richardson, RB.
2013 Rams0
2014 Rams4Mitchell Van Dyk, C.B. Bryant, Michael Sam, Demetrius RhaneyVan Dyk, OT. Bryant, FS. Sam, DE. Rhaney, C.

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