Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Bucs

Which NFL draft prospects were helped, hurt by opting out?

LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase is still an elite prospect. But his teammate, Tyler Shelvin? Not so much.
LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase might be the safest opt-out pick in the draft.
LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase might be the safest opt-out pick in the draft. [ GERALD HERBERT | AP ]
Published Yesterday
Updated Yesterday

Although we don’t yet know what will happen to all the opt-outs in this year’s NFL draft, we do know how they’ve risen (or fallen) in the eyes of analysts:

Related: Why opt-outs are this NFL draft’s biggest unknown

Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau

Miami's Gregory Rousseau is still a likely first-round pick after opting out.
Miami's Gregory Rousseau is still a likely first-round pick after opting out. [ PHELAN M. EBENHACK | Associated Press (2019) ]

Rousseau totaled 15 ½ sacks in 2019, then opted out of the 2020 season. In preseason draft rankings from ESPN, he was ranked 24th by Mel Kiper (in May) and 12th by Todd McShay (in August). He has dropped outside Kiper’s top 25 and is 20th, according to McShay.

LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin

LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin will still get drafted, but he's not going in the first round.
LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin will still get drafted, but he's not going in the first round. [ MATTHEW HINTON | AP ]

Like Rousseau, he has only one strong year of film. It was enough for him to be a preseason top-25 prospect according to ESPN’s analysts. But after opting out of the full season, he could fall all the way to Day 3.

LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase

LSU receiver Ja'Marr Chase is still going to be a top-10 pick and might go in the top five.
LSU receiver Ja'Marr Chase is still going to be a top-10 pick and might go in the top five. [ GERALD HERBERT | AP (2019) ]

The 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top receiver remains a top-five prospect. Skipping 2020 did not appear to hurt him at all.

Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell

Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell is still going to be a first-round pick. But would he have gone even higher had he played another year for the Ducks?
Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell is still going to be a first-round pick. But would he have gone even higher had he played another year for the Ducks? [ RON JENKINS | AP (2019) ]

Sewell hasn’t fallen much since skipping 2020; he was a top-two prospect in the preseason and is still in the top eight. But McShay said it’s possible that a team with many offensive holes chooses a more proven prospect, like Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, over Sewell, forcing the former Ducks star to slide slightly.

Oregon safety Jevon Holland

Oregon safety Jevon Holland no longer appears to be a first-round pick.
Oregon safety Jevon Holland no longer appears to be a first-round pick. [ TONY AVELAR | ASSOCIATED PRESS (2019) ]

After 2019, he was a top-20 prospect according to Kiper and McShay. Now he’s 56th in McShay’s rankings and a likely Day 2 selection.

Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman

Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman opted out, opted in and opted out again.
Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman opted out, opted in and opted out again. [ ANDY CLAYTON-KING | AP ]

He opted out because of coronavirus concerns in August, opted back in when the Big Ten restarted and opted out again in November. He was a top-10 prospect in the preseason but is now a fringe first-round pick.

Related: Everything the Bucs could do with the No. 32 pick, according to one ESPN analyst

• • •

Sign up for the Bucs RedZone newsletter to get updates and analysis on the latest team and NFL news from Bucs beat writer Joey Knight.

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.