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Baalke, 49ers remain open-minded on Michael Sam

Michael Sam
Michael SamPhoto by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

On Sunday afternoon, NFL draft prospect and hopeful DE Michael Sam said that he was gay, which received a strong amount attention the last two days. The San Francisco 49ers released a statement on Twitter from General manager Trent Baalke on Sam.

"The 49ers commend Michael for the courage he has displayed as he continues to pursue his NFL career. We have and will continue to evaluate him as we do every eligible player, which is always based on their projected contribution to our team on and off the field."

Sam had 11.5 sacks with the Missouri Tigers in his senior year for 2013. He initially told his teammates before season started that he was gay as it wasn't an issue among the locker room.

If the 49ers drafted Sam, he would be a pass rushing specialist to compliment backup OLB Corey Lemonier on the depth chart. With Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial expected to contribute on the defensive line, they don't necessarily need any upgrades from the front-four. At 6-2, 255 pounds, he would receive only a handful of snaps on obvious passing downs as a 3-4 OLB. Sam is projected to be a mid-round pick and he could be taken in the third round at the earliest.

With the 49ers having other needs from WR to CB, it is unlikely the team will need an outside linebacker unless they feel there should be an upgrade over Dan Skuta, who played well as a backup. Before the 2013 season started, the 49ers traded OLBs Parys Haralson and Cam Johnson for seventh round draft picks in 2014 and 2015, respectively.