NFL teams have expressed a range of opinions about evaluating the draft prospects of players who opted out of playing college football last season.
Rams head coach Sean McVay said “you don’t punish a guy” for opting out and just go back to earlier tape to see what kind of player he is while Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he thinks those players missed a chance to improve. Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said that if two players are close, he’ll take the one who played in 2020.
Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis had his chance to weigh in and said having more recent information on a player would be ideal. He also said that he thinks there are two many areas to evaluate players for a decision to opt out to wind up tipping the scales one way or another.
“Yeah, I don’t see that as being a significant variable,” Loomis said. “Obviously, it exists and the more current information that you have, obviously, the better it is. But, look I can’t think of too many circumstances where it’s going to negatively impact a player if he opted not to play last year. There’s too many other variables that exist and too many other decision points that, you know, I don’t think we’ll ever get to a situation where there’s two players completely equal. And that’s the final variable. I just, that’s hard for me to envision.”
Thursday night brings the first chance to see how significant a variable opting out really was for NFL teams as they put together this year’s draft boards.