Even in the best of times, one has to wonder what goes through the mind of a football place kicker during the NFL Draft process? For the past eight years, the Los Angeles Rams had the secure knowledge that Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein was in the fold and there would be minimal worries when he was on the field.
But, nothing lasts forever.
With the kicking position up for competition this summer, the Los Angeles Rams traded down in the recent NFL Draft, garnered more seventh round picks and positioned themselves to take a kicker at No. 248, Sam Sloman out of the University of Miami (Ohio).
Prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, the Rams, with just a few picks to be frugal with, signed free agents from the XFL and CFL Austin MacGinnis and Lirim Hajrullahu, respectively. The three-way competition should be healthy and deliver the right kicker for the team moving forward.
Sloman was a walk-on kicker for the Redhawks in 2016, after lettering in two years of football and four years of soccer at Pace Academy in Roswell, Ga. With the NFL Draft, he became the 40th player to be drafted out of the university and the first ever kicker from the institution that also produced head coach Sean McVay in 2008.
In a Twitter post after the draft, Redhawks’ head coach Chuck Martin showed his pride in Sloman:
— Chuck Martin (@Martin_Miami_HC) April 27, 2020
Sloman’s 2019 football season saw him earn All-MAC Second Team honors after leading his team to its first MAC Championship since 2010. He has also shown over the last four years the ability to consistently hit field goals of over 50 yards, which would afford the Rams the ability to remain offensive minded having a Zuerlein-like kicker on the roster.
His 26/30 field goals made rank first all-time for a Redhawks’ single season. His .867 percentage ranks second all-time in Redhawks history. Sloman ranks second in FGs (49), third in attempts (62), third in percentage (.790), second in extra points made (112) and fourth all-time in school scoring (259).
Sloman had no idea that he was the first kicker to be drafted out of Miami (Ohio). It was an honor to him considering the school produced talented kickers in the past. But he also had some other thoughts as the NFL Draft progressed. He knew two or three kickers are usually drafted.
“I’d had some previous contact with the Rams a little bit throughout the process,” Sloman said. “They called me a little before the pick came in, but to see my name come across on TV was still surreal.
“I thought I had a shot,” added Sloman, one of three kickers to be drafted. “Two or three kickers usually go most years. There was a lot of interest. We just had to wait to see how things played out. One of the things I knew was the Rams had a last shot at picking a kicker, and they had two picks left in the seventh round, so we were eyeing that.”
Sloman remains at home during this year’s pandemic crisis, but he has been an active member of the Rams’ virtual off season training, and can’t wait to arrive in Southern California when the time is right.
He has chosen No. 1 as his uniform number, no doubt a subconscious belief in himself after coming so far in his football career.