Oregon Football: Three Starters Opt-Out, Declare For 2021 NFL Draft

Over the last week three experienced starters have decided to opt-out for their respective 2020 season with the Ducks. Penei Sewell, Deommodore Lenoir, and Thomas Graham Jr will all look to the next step in their careers in the National Football League.

For fans, the loss of Sewell may perhaps be the toughest one to take. Sewell had another season in him for the Ducks. He was a dominant force on the offensive line on protecting Justin Herbert in the Rose Bowl winning season last year playing a key role and gaining valuable experience. Now, Oregon will look for his replacement, who is likely already on the way in the next recruiting class.

One area that Oregon will not have a problem moving forward is on the offensive line. While the loss of Sewell will be felt when football returns, the Ducks and likely starter Tyler Shough will have the void filled.

The Oregon Football Defense lost two key players with big game experience as both Thomas Graham Jr and Deommodore Lenoir also announced they will not return to the Ducks and begin their respective professional careers.

Graham was a player for Oregon that could play in two spots on the field, both outside and inside at the nickel position. At the end of last season, the NFL Advisory Committee recommended that Graham return for his senior season, which at the time he decided to do. But with no assurances now of playing in the fall or even the spring, he has decided to begin preparation for the upcoming NFL Draft.

Deommodore Lenoir was the other half the of the one-two punch protecting the outside for Oregon. Pro Football Focus ranked Lenoir as a Top 30 Cornerback returning to school at the end of last season. It was clear that both Graham and Lenoir had something to prove and they likely would have gone out and improved their draft stock following solid performances last season.

All three players will be missed, but we will wish all three players the best for their respective futures given the circumstances. It would have been nice to see the Senior (or Junior) Day ceremonies for all three of these student-athletes.