ST. LOUIS — Michael Sam wasn’t among the first picks of the 2014 NFL Draft — indeed, he was among the last — but the seventh-round selection already ranks among the best in terms of top-selling rookie jerseys.
Sam, the first openly gay player in the NFL, ranks in the top five for rookie jersey sales via NFLshop.com, according to Brian McCarthy from the NFL public relations office.
McCarthy tweeted Monday morning that Johnny Manziel, Michael Sam, Jadeveon Clowney, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles were in the top five for early rookie jersey sales.
Manziel, Clowney, Bridgewater and Bortles were all first-round picks. Sam, a defensive end from Mizzou, was the 249th overall selection by the St. Louis Rams.
The photo that accompanies the jersey has Sam with a No. 10 jersey, signifying that he was the team’s 10th selection in the draft, but the product description notes that the jersey will ship within two to four weeks after Sam’s number has been officially assigned by the NFL league office.
In a Rams questionnaire distributed by the team after he was drafted, Sam said his preferences for his jersey number were No. 52 (what he wore with the Tigers), No. 55 or No. 50.
All of those numbers are currently taken with the Rams, with No. 52 belonging to linebacker Alec Olgetree (a first-round pick in 2013), No. 55 to veteran James Laurinaitis and No. 50 to Ray-Ray Armstrong, a linebacker who was a rookie in 2013.
The Rams said Saturday night that Sam would be issued a number at some point this week.
Whatever number Sam wears going into training camp, the rookie defensive end will have plenty of people supporting him and cheering him on.
You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter (@natelatsch) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.