How Ja’Marr Chase, Micah Parsons, and other 2020 opt-outs adapt as NFL newbies

Towards the end of the NFL preseason, several first-round draft picks who decided to drop out of their final college seasons are struggling to stand out on the field.

The first few weeks of the preseason games saw promising results for Micah Parsons, Jaycee Horn, Rashawn Slater, Gregory Rousseau and Joe Tyron-Shoyinka. Both made a lasting impression on their NFL preseason debuts and are likely to remain in the spotlight in Week 1 as well.

Ja’Marr Chase, Penei Sewell, Caleb Farley, and Rashod Bateman, on the other hand, face some challenges that adapt to the league. If you break down past triumphs and defeats, there are a handful of rookies who still have a long way to go.

MORE: Complete NFL Top 100 List for 2021

Ja’Marr Chase (5th selection, Bengals)

During the Bengals’ first pre-season games, Chase only received one reception for 16 yards. Although he connects well with his former LSU teammate Joe Burrow, he kept dropping passes at training camp. During the Bengals’ 17-13 loss to Washington, Chase missed all of his goals and scored a total of three drops.

Penei Sewell (7th selection, Lions)

From his performance in the Lions’ 26-20 loss to the Steelers, it is evident that Sewell is still adjusting to playing with the right tackle. He was beaten by his defender six times in 27 pass-blocking snapshots last season, including three that resulted in pressure.

Jaycee Horn (8th Pick, Panthers)

Horn has earned a reputation for having an “alpha mentality” and was in the spotlight during the Panthers preseason. He has already intercepted three passes and assisted a fourth in the training camp. He also got into a couple of arguments ahead of their game against the Colts, and got caught up in a screaming match with Raven’s cornerback Marcus Peters.

Micah Parsons (12th Pick, Cowboys)

Parsons finished his preseason debut with three tackles and a fumble recovery, making an early impression on the Cowboys. According to Pro Football Focus, Parsons is the top-rated running defender among all linebackers in the preseason.

Rashawn Slater (13th selection, Chargers)

According to Pro Football Focus, Slater had the highest pass blocking rating of any rookie offensive linemen in the first week of preseason. He scored a total of 12 pass-blocking snaps and shone against the Rams during his NFL debut.

Just a silly “B” block (in the first clip) from 2 rookies – Brenden Jaimes & Rashawn Slater. Not only is the energy generated insane, but the transition from Jaimes to LB is * Cooking Kiss *.

– Gabe Kuhn (@ G_Kuhn71) August 15, 2021

Caleb Farley (22nd pick, Titans)

Farley entered the field for the first time in two years against the Buccaneers, playing 16 games on defense and one on special teams. He made a few notable games during training together, but after Farley sustained a string of back injuries and surgeries throughout 2020, the Titans are carefully keeping him on the pitch.

Rashod Batemen (27th selection, Ravens)

Bateman was paused while exercising with a non-contact injury in early August and recently underwent core muscle surgery. He is now cleared to run routes and is expected to return to the Ravens within six to eight weeks.

Gregory Rousseau (30th selection, Bills)

Rousseau counted 18 pass rushing snaps, six pressure points and took first place among the rookies in his first two preseason games with a pressure percentage of 33 percent. He also hit Penei Sewell for a sack and added three rushs during his NFL debut.

Joe Tyron-Shoyinka (32nd pick, Buccaneers)

Tyron is already referred to as a “beast” and “monster” and proves to be indispensable for the defense of the Buccaneers. He finished his second preseason game against the Titans with three tackles, a solo, two assists and a sack – and exerted constant quarterback pressure.

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