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Raiders draft 2021: A look at notable college football opt outs

Will the Raiders look unkindly at these players who didn’t participate in the 2020 NCAA season?

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Penn State
Micah Parsons
Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

In our podcast this week, we discussed whether the Las Vegas Raiders will be among the teams that ultimately decide to stay away from drafting players who opted out of the 2020 NCAA season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There has been a lot of speculation that some teams may feel that players who opted out may not love football. Of course, Raiders coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock often say they are attracted to players who love football. So, you have to wonder if the Raiders will be among the teams not to be high on players who opted out, whether it’s fair or not.

Frankly, the college season was so up in the air last year and it changed course so often, several players thought their best chance to get ready for the NFL was to opt out before the season was canceled. So, I think these players should be given a break.

With all that in mind, let’s look at some players who opted out of the college season last fall who could be on the Raiders’ radar:

Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons:
Parsons one of the most high-profile players to opt out. He is such a talent, I think the Raiders would be just fine taking him if he unexpectedly falls to No. 17.

Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater:
Slater is a case like Parsons. If he is at No. 17, I don’t think the Raiders would be too worried about the opt out. The talent level is too high.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech
Caleb Farley
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech Caleb Farley:
Farley is considered one of the better cornerbacks in the draft. There has been a lot of talk about the Raiders taking another cornerback in the first round and I think Farley could be an option if they traded down in the 22-25 range and he was available.

Miami pass rusher Gregory Rousseau:
He has been connected to the Raiders throughout the draft season. But after the opt-out season and a poor pro day, many people think he will fall. Perhaps, if Rousseau is available at No. 48, the Raiders will bite.

LSU safety Kary Vincent:
He produced at a huge program. I can see him being on the Raiders’ list.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl
Jamie Newman
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman:
Newman transferred to Georgia, but then opted out. However, he did play in the Senior Bowl in January. He has a big arm and he has big tools. I’m not sure the Raiders are looking for another quarterback in this draft, but I can see them taking a shot at Newman in the mid-rounds.