Consider Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli as impressed with what he’s seen so far from defensive end Michael Sam.
Sam has spent two days of practices with the Cowboys after signing on the practice squad Wednesday. Sam, the first openly gay player in the NFL, was released by the Rams on final cuts on Saturday, despite having three sacks and 11 tackles in the preseason.
The Cowboys are hoping to develop Sam into a pass rusher.
“He’s got quickness and movement,” Marinelli said. “The guy is very passionate about what he’s doing and I really like that about him. But now it’s just developing a guy over and over every day. Now it’s just starting to get the feel of how it is to really come off the ball, things that you want. The movement is good.”
Sam was drafted in the seventh round by the Rams after a standout career at Missouri where he was named 2013 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
The Cowboys didn’t have him on their draft board, because they didn’t think he had speed and quickness to fit their scheme.
Marinelli said Sam has enough tools to develop as a prospect, though it might not happen overnight.
“As a defensive end, you’re looking for that elite speed and quickness,” Marinelli said. “It always doesn’t show early because guys get confused in what they’re trying to do, and practice squad guys are working against our offense, so he doesn’t get as many reps with what you want to do. It’s just a process.”