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Michael Sam second to Johnny Manziel in rookie jersey sales

Orders for Michael Sam jerseys are ranking squarely with some of the NFL draft's biggest names, including defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and quarterbacks Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater.

Brian McCarthy, the NFL's vice president of communications, reports via Twitter that those five players lead the early demand among rookies. The rankings were tracked from sales at nflshop.com.

Added NFL PR's Joanna Hunter: "It is unprecedented for a Day 3 draft pick to be one of the top five rookies sold during draft weekend."

Manziel's jersey is atop the list, followed by Sam's, then those of Clowney, Bridgewater and Bortles. It's no doubt the first time a seventh-round draft choice has, at least initially, outsold the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, not to mention three first-round quarterbacks. But as the NFL's first openly gay draft choice, Sam's pro career is set to create firsts of all kinds. The next goal for Sam: Become the NFL's first openly gay player to make a 53-man roster.

He'll be challenged to do so with his new team, the St. Louis Rams, in part because the club already has one of the NFL's best tandems at his defensive end position in Robert Quinn and Chris Long.

But if jersey sales are any indication, he has plenty of people rooting for him to succeed.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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