Jaylen hands draft stock
Then the officials scooch closer to their cameras and someone segues with an ominous.Rousseau knows what is next.They always ask why I opted out, he says.Plenty of draft hopefuls can relate.Where the upper crust of the class of 2021 is flush with potential star quarterbacks, the rest is defined by a larger yet equally intriguing prospect groupranging from third-day fliers to first-round talents such as offensive tackles Penei Sewell (Oregon) and Rashawn Slater (Northwestern receiver.JaMarr Chase (LSU cornerback Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech) and Rousseauwhose collective notoriety comes not from anything they did on the field last fall but because they didnt play at all.
Instead they elected to opt out of the college football season over health concerns amid the covid-19 pandemic.It feels like a brotherhood, Farley says.You know you have a lot in common with these guys.Salter/Sports Illustrated, that includes the inevitable blitz of interview questions about their decisions, dialed up by NFL evaluators desperate for intel.The conversation aint gonna go too long before it comes out, says receiver Damonte Coxie, who left Memphis two games into the Tigers season.
Often a quick explanation is enough to satisfy teams, as when Rousseau describes how he was influenced by the horror stories his mother, Anne, brought home from her 12-hour shifts as an ICU nurse in Fort Lauderdale last summer.They all seem.K.With it, Rousseau says.Probably want to hear it from my mouth, make sure I'm not switching up my story every 10 minutes.But some clubs press harder.Farley recalls one coach challenging him by snidely remarking, How do we know youre not just gonna opt out this season because of covid, too?
Ambry Thomas, who skipped his senior year at Michigan in part due to his ulcerative colitis, which requires him to take immunosuppressants, recounts a testy exchange that began when brass from an NFC team asked whether the defensive back considered himself a team player.Im like, Yeah, without a doubt, Thomas, 21, says.They were like, Why did you opt out, then?And then they just started ramming.Against the backdrop of a uniquely slimmed-down draft process, with no combine, no in-person visits and limited centralized medical evaluations, those who opted out represent an extra layer of uncertainty for teams.Broncos general manager George Paton declared that his staff would have to dig deeper than theyve ever dug in scouting such players.