In an interview Sunday with the New York Times, Missouri DE Michael Sam announced that he is gay. Projected to go as high as the 3rd round or as low as the 6th prior to that statement, it remains to be seen whether this news will affect his draft stock. Obviously the scouting combine will have a significant impact as well.
Reasons why he could be drafted early: Led the SEC in sacks and in tackles for loss. Named AP Defensive Player of the Year for the SEC. Voted MVP of the team by his teammates. First-team all-American.
Reasons why he could slip to the later rounds: Regardless of what his sexual orientation will do to his draft stock, there are concerns about his size. At 6'2", he may be considered too short to be a traditional DE. His listed 255lbs is a bit below the watermark for defensive linemen in today's NFL.
Now for the elephant in the room... will teams shy away from him because he's gay? Perhaps more importantly, will teams avoid him because of the media circus that will inevitably follow him throughout his career? Could he be the next Tim Tebow, a guy who has the ability to at least be a backup in the NFL, but has too much media baggage?