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

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Matt Baker, Tampa Bay Times
·2 min read
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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:

Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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