Two Big Ten First Round NFL Prospects Opting Out of College Football Season

I continue to believe college football season will happen, but it’s undeniable at this point that it is going to be a quagmire. You read the news and you know that already. Anyways, we’re entering the point in the season where players are going to opt out, and today news came of two players who are projected first round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft who play in the Big Ten are going to do just that.

The first was Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman, the Big Ten WR of the year last season:

Later, Eric Edholm of Yahoo reported that Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons is expected to announce Wednesday morning that he will opt out of the season, “barring a last-minute change of heart.”

In Outkick’s mock draft, Bateman and Parsons went no. 17 and no. 18 overall.

If you are securely a first round draft pick, there’s an argument to be made that it makes financial sense to opt out of college football even if the world were not complicated with coronavirus. This school of thought goes that the injury risk supersedes how you can advance your draft position, insurance can only go so far, and you’re not getting paid in college. (Of course, there are reasons like college education and camaraderie with teammates that can and do swing these decisions the other way.)

We will undoubtedly see many players across the country opt out of the season for their own reasons, but players projected to be drafted but outside of the first round have a lot of incentive to play and put improvement on film for NFL talent evaluators. The decision makes less sense for players in this position than probable first rounders like Bateman and Parsons.

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.

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  1. If they read the data and still didn’t feel safe. Then hey, he doesn’t feel safe but ultimately it’s his decision.

    If he didn’t read the data. I wish for his benefit he would. But again, it’s his decision.

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