2021 NFL Draft: Players who could opt out if college season delayed

Trevor Lawrence, 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Trevor Lawrence, 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Trevor Lawrence, 2021 NFL Draft
Trevor Lawrence, 2021 NFL Draft /

Which top 2021 NFL Draft prospects could opt-out of a delayed 2020 college season?

Bruce Feldman recently had a fascinating piece published on The Athletic (subscription required) taking a look at what some college coaches, including Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, thought about the possible domino effect of a delayed college football season in 2020.

There exists a possibility if not probability that the 2020 college football season will not happen on time, if even in 2020 or at all.

Feldman’s post outlines a variety of topics, not the least of which is an idea from Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley of accepting the 2021 NFL Draft-related consequences and having the “2020” college football season, even an abbreviated version, sometime in the Spring of 2021.

According to Feldman’s report, coaches expecting not to find favor with the idea actually ended up liking it and thinking it could work, but delaying the 2020 college season to the Spring of 2021 brings along with it some serious complications in terms of college teams having to adjust to losing players who have established their 2021 NFL Draft stock.

Some schools will be hurt more than others, of course, and 10 of the coaches Feldman polled felt like two or less of their players would even consider leaving for the NFL early without a 2020 season.

Two of the coaches polled felt as though no fewer than eight players would consider it.

This is equal parts troubling and fascinating to think about. Troubling because the reason this is being discussed is a global pandemic that is hitting the United States in a strong second wave, and fascinating because this kind of situation affecting everyone in the country is having unprecedented ramifications on the sports world.

What if the college season is eventually delayed to the Spring of 2021? Which players would be the most likely to opt-out and enter the 2021 NFL Draft?

Let’s take a look at the candidates from each position group.