Sean McVay: You don’t punish a guy for opting out, you go back to the tape

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On Monday, Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert noted that if two players were close on the draft board, Pittsburgh would take the one who did not opt out of the 2020 season.

Tuesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones noted that those college players who opted out were missing around 700 snaps worth of improvement from 2020.

Every draft board is subjective to its respective team, and the league’s franchises will have different approaches to those individuals who, for whatever reason, chose to opt out of a season during a pandemic.

Rams head coach Sean McVay was asked about it during his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday, and said Los Angeles’ evaluations will come down to what players displayed on the field.

“The tape is always the best guiding light. So you go back to their ’19 film and you use that as the most important reference. Then the character is all a big part of it,” McVay said. “Les [Snead] and his group do an outstanding job of vetting these players and really our coaches as well, it’s all part of it. But the most important thing that guides our decision-making is, first and foremost, the tape.

“You don’t punish a guy. This past year has certainly been, I think, one that is different in so many ways, but you don’t punish guys for that. You go back to the tape. You look at what they’ve previously done — and then there are some projections with guys that maybe have less tangible evidence on the tape and it all is a part of the evaluation process. But certainly nothing weighs more than when you’re evaluating them playing the game that we’re going to ask them to do.”

The Rams do not have a first-round selection for the fifth consecutive draft, with their first pick currently slated for No. 57 overall.