Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be selected in a NFL draft when he was taken in the final round by the St Louis Rams on Saturday.

Sam would become the first openly gay man to play in the NFL should he make the team's 53-man regular season roster this summer.

The 24-year-old played college football with the Missouri Tigers for four years but garnered widespread media coverage earlier this year by announcing his sexuality in media interviews.

Sam, who was the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year in 2013, was the 249th pick overall out of 256.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher told ESPN: "In the world of diversity we live in now, I'm honoured to be a part of this and I'm excited about his opportunity to help this football team win."

Sam posted a picture of himself sporting a Rams cap on Twitter along with the message: "Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis. I'm using every once [sic] of this to achieve greatness!!"