Michael Sam was chosen No. 249 in the NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney No. 1. But Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team, beat out Clowney when it comes for jersey sales for 2014.
Data compiled by Dick's Sporting Goods, show Sam coming in at No. 20 among all NFL rookies among jersey sales. This is astonishing considering he was cut by the Rams after training camp and then released from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad in October without ever making an NFL roster or playing in a game. Clowney missed most of the season for the Houston Texans with an injury, but it's still surprising that as the top pick he finished one spot behind Sam.
Dick's Sporting Goods data found the most sales of Sam's No. 96 St. Louis Rams jersey occurred after the May draft and at the start of training camp in July. Demand was so high at Rams camp that two tables were set up to sell Sam jerseys versus one for other players. Sales understandably plummeted after he was cut by the Rams, and the Cowboys never sold a jersey with his name since they don't do it for practice squad players.
There is no doubt that had Sam made an NFL roster that his jersey would have ranked in the Top 5 of all rookies, maybe even No. 2. The top spot among rookies belonged to Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who ranked No. 5 among all players. The top selling jersey for Dick's for all players belongs to Peyton Manning, with Andrew Luck second and Russell Wilson third.