Breeze’s decision boiled down to what he considered mismanagement of the Pac-12 season by conference officials.
“It was kinda weird. They canceled our season last second,” Breeze said. “I moved out of my apartment and said goodbye to my teammates. Five weeks later I get a phone call from my coaches asking me to return and move back into my apartment. … We were on such short notice.
“Really what it came down to was just you know what, it was such a short notice. I was very frustrated with the Pac 12.”
That decision clearly didn’t affect his standing with the Titans. General manager Jon Robinson and his staff approached the opt-outs with the same detail-oriented approach as they did with those that played the 2020 season, he said.
“You can’t just take every guy that played this year,” Robinson said. “When you start to look at the skillsets of players and how they stack up, certainly vertically within their position group, and horizontally with other positions, you have to go with the film you have and get to know them on Zoom calls and make those decisions.”
And when it came to Breeze, Tennessee saw enough in his six-foot, 196-pound frame, to take a chance their second opt-out guy in the draft. He brings special teams abilities, solid tackling and a level of effort that was apparent in the three seasons and 32 games he did play..
“He was a fun guy to watch on defense. He was a fun guy to watch in the kicking game,” Robinson said. “He is one of the first ones down on the kicking units. He is instinctive and finds the football on special teams, much like he does on defense. And he’s a good tackler. He was a highly rated special teams guy for us, and we were stoked to have him there late in the sixth.”
After the Titans selected him 22nd overall, Farley did not go into detail about what prompted his decision saying he was tired of the subject. He was, after all, the first high-profile FBS player to say that he would not play in 2020.
In a first-person account to NBC Sports last August, though, he detailed health concerns – based on his own history and concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic – that convinced him it would be best to sit out and focus on preparation for a professional career.
“There were a lot of guys that opted out of this draft and we didn’t take their cards of the draft board just because they didn’t play this year,” Robinson said. “We evaluated those guys and stacked those guys up based on the film we had and the games that they played in.”
Eventually, they even chose a couple of them.