NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock has been calling Sam a 'tweener since the combine, and he used that description again Saturday. He also said Sam's lack of athleticism is noticeable compared to other players looking to make the transition from defensive end in college to outside linebacker in the pros.
Mayock also said, though, that Sam had "high-level production in the best conference in football."
"He's a situational pass rusher (with) a really good first step," Mayock said.
NFL Media Insider Michael Silver spent the draft weekend "embedded" with the Rams, and he said Sam's selection "was not something that was expected in this building."
Silver also said the environment with the Rams probably would be one of the best in the league for Sam, who went to college about two hours west of St. Louis.
"I think a lot of people would (say) Fisher's locker room is a perfect place," he said.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who served as a guest analyst on NFL Network's draft coverage, has friends on Mizzou's coaching staff and said they "raved about (Sam)."
Fisher said Sam's on-field work caught his eye. "The guy is productive," Fisher said. "His production exceeds his talent."
Sam announced in February that he was gay. The announcement came about six weeks after the end of the 2013 season, when he led the SEC in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (19). He helped Missouri finish 12-2 in '13.
Mayock said Sam "handled himself with dignity and with class" in an intense media glare at the combine. He now will be given another chance to handle the intense media glare that comes with being a drafted high-profile player.