Micah Parsons NFL Draft 2021 Prospect Profile: LB A Firm Top-10 Pick

This is The Game Day’s Micah Parsons NFL Draft 2021 Prospect Profile. After you read our Micah Parsons Scouting Report, head over to Marcus Mosher’s 2021 NFL Mock Draft for Rounds 1-3 and the rest of our 2021 NFL Draft Guide content.

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Micah Parsons NFL Draft Prospect Profile

Micah Parsons NFL Draft Prospect: Bio & Measurables

  • School: Penn State
  • Class in Final Season: Junior
  • Age on NFL Draft Day: 21
  • Height: 6-foot-3
  • Weight: 245 lbs.

Micah Parsons Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Elite size and explosiveness
  • Disruptive on blitz packages
  • Versatile
  • As a former pass-rusher in high-school, possess pass-rush traits to take on offensive linemen
  • Relentless to the ball
  • Takeaway creator — will try to rip the football from the ball-carrier
  • Nose for the line-of-scrimmage
  • Patience at the line-of-scrimmage to read the play and let it develop before hitting the gap
  • Asset in coverage
  • Sideline-to-sideline player
  • Close-in speed and quickness
  • Dynamic athlete
  • Reactionary against the run

Needs Improvement

  • Needs to improve processing the play as a second-level defender
  • Will sometimes over-pursue and tame him out of the play
  • Could be more instinctual, though he is at least good-to-above-average in that category
  • Could struggle in man-coverage but should be able to hold his own covering the prototypical NFL tight end
  • Good but not a great tackler — not a liability though
  • Could take time to develop his skill-set as an NFL linebacker because he did play defensive end in high school, but should hold his own out of the gate

Micah Parsons NFL Outlook

Micah Parsons was recruited out of high school as a prized pass-rushing defensive end but was developed into a linebacker at Penn State.

Back as a true freshman in 2018, Parsons not only saw significant playing time, but he was an impact player for the Nittany Lions as well. While he was outstanding as a freshman, Parsons was even better as a sophomore. Compiling 109 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, four forced fumbles and five pass deflections while starting 12-of-13 games, 2019 was Parsons’ breakout campaign and was named Big-10 Linebacker of the Year. However, despite his early success at Penn State, Parsons ultimately opted-out of his 2020 season and has decided to forgo his 2021 senior year to pursue a career in the NFL.

An anticipated early-first round pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, Parsons projects to be the first linebacker off the board. With elite size and speed to go along with his versatility to be an upside pass-rusher and run-stuffer while holding his own in coverage, Parsons maps out to be a day-one starter at the pro-level.

Though still raw — he was a defensive end in high school and only really has two seasons at linebacker under his belt — Parsons should pick up the position rather quickly in the NFL due to his instinctual mind for the game.

While Parsons is slated as a middle linebacker, scouting reports suggest that he can play multiple positions on the defense who should thrive both in 4-3 and 3-4 defenses at the next level. Due to his Penn State pedigree to go along with his skill-set, expect Parsons to be selected inside the top 10.


Micah Parsons 2021 Draft: NFL Comparison

Jaylon Smith: I have seen Micah Parsons mentioned in scouting reports in the same breath as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Devin White, but more as a first-round impact player, not a player comp. As far as comps, the name I am seeing over and over and over again is Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith.

While Smith slipped into the second round coming out of college, his slide was because of his gruesome — and nearly carer compromising — knee injury, not because of a regression in his play. In fact, if it wasn’t for Smith’s injury, he would have been an early first-round pick back in 2016, a similar spot in which Parsons is expected to go in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.

Both Smith and Parsons are similar in build, skill set and style of play. Both players also possess elite explosiveness while playing with supreme aggression with a nose for the ball. And despite their size, both Smith and Parsons are incredible athletes as well and can hold their own in coverage facing tight ends and backs at the pro level.


Micah Parsons NFL Draft Team Fits

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys don’t have a need at linebacker per se, but it couldn’t hurt. While Sean Lee may be on his way out — Lee is a free agent and could ultimately retire — the Cowboys could also select Parsons to make Jaylon Smith expendable to free up cap space. The Cowboys, who have ample needs on defense, could also parlay Parsons with Smith and Leighton Vander Esch as well to make one of the most potent second-level groups in the NFL.

Detroit Lions

The Lions … where do I start? Following the failed Matt Patricia experiment, which in theory, should have given Detroit one of the best defenses in the league — it didn’t — the Lions are left with more questions than answers, especially on defense. A team in clear rebuild mode entering the Dan Campbell era, what better way to rebuild the defensive side of the football than by drafting a player who could potentially be the proverbial quarterback of the defense for the next 8-to-10 years. Last year, the Lions spent the No. 3 overall pick on CB Jeffrey Okudah. Taking Parsons at No. 7 in consecutive years would give the Lions a terrific foundation on defense with studs at the second and third level for years to come.

New England Patriots

We know two things. For the first time in over two decades, it looks like the Patriots are in rebuild mode — face the facts New England fans (and Bill Belichick). We also know that Belichick does not have the greatest success in the NFL Draft selecting offensive assets. Belichick excels at building a defense. Parsons fits the mold. However, the Patriots are not picking until No. 15, which means they will likely have to move up if they want Parsons. The Patriots are notorious for making moves up and down the draft board to get their guy, especially if their guy is a value because he falls past his projected draft slot.

Update:

Las Vegas Raiders

According to The Raiders Beat, the las Vegas Raiders are infatuated with Penn State LB Micah Parsons. In fact, SI’s Hondo Carpenter told the Pritch and Cray radio show that the Raiders “love” the top linebacker prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. And why wouldn’t they?

In each of the past two seasons, the Raiders finished in the bottom 10 in points allowed per game. In 2019, they surrendered the ninth-most (26.2) and in 2020 they yielded the third-most (29.9). To say that Las Vegas’ defense is in need of a catastrophic overhaul is an understatement. Parsons is a player they can build around while acting as an immediate difference-maker to help them win now in a competitive AFC conference.

Currently, the Raiders are seated with the 17th overall pick in the draft. If he falls past the Giants at No. 11 or the Patriots at No. 15, the Raiders could have a shot to get their guy, albeit, a long shot.


Micah Parsons NFL Draft Prediction

Round 1, Pick 7: Detroit Lions

Micah Parsons can fit on almost every NFL team in need of help at the second level. However, he will not slip out of the top 10. In fact, I don’t expect Parsons to fall past No. 7 and the Lions.

Sure, the Lions have needs everywhere, especially on offense with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola, the team’s top three wide receivers, expected to hit free agency. However, the offense has not been Detroit’s issue over the years.

With Jared Goff expected to be under center for the Lions in Week 1, what do we know? We know that he can flash as the No. 1 overall pick that he was, while also looking like a complete bust. We also know that no matter how bad he plays, a terrific defense can bail him out. So much so that the Rams’ top three defense in 2020 was good enough to get the team to the Divisional Round of the playoffs, even with Goff having one of his worst years. Look for the Lions to take a defensive stud for the second year in a row, snagging Parsons with the seventh overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Update: Initially, I had Micah Parsons going to the Lions with the seventh overall pick. Weeks later, I realize that the No. 7 pick is too high for a linebacker with questionable man-coverage skills. While Parsons is a top-10 talent, he does come with maturity concerns as well, which could cause him to fall on draft day.

Round 1, Pick 11: New York Giants

The last time the Giants selected a linebacker in the first round of the NFL Draft was Carl Banks in 1984. That could change in 2021 if Parsons is still on the board at pick No. 11.

Last season, the Giants finished with the ninth-best defense in terms of points per game (22.3). And while their linebacker group is already solid with players that include Blake Martinez, Lorenzo Carter, Ryan Anderson, and Ifeadi Odenigbo, Parsons would vastly improve the middle of their defense for years to come.

In free agency, the Giants signed Anderson and Odenigbo to one-year deals. The addition of Parsons makes both of those stop-gap veterans expendable moving forward.


Micah Parsons NFL Draft Bet

Micah Parsons is only an option for one wager at PointsBet at this time. As the draft approaches, PointsBet may offer additional bet options in which Parsons could be an option. Currently, PointsBet is offering three different NFL Draft bets:

  • Who will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft?
  • Who will be the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft?
  • Who will be the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft?

Parsons is not a logical bet for any of these 2021 NFL Draft props.

Update:

Micah Parsons Over/Under Draft Position

  • Over 11.5 (-115)
  • Under 11.5 (-115)

Although I noted that Micah Parsons is a top 10 talent, I also said that he does come with some maturity concerns, per expert draft analysts. With the first 10 picks expected to be dominated by offensive talent, most notably, quarterbacks and wide receivers with an offensive tackle and cornerback mixed in, Parsons will likely fall to the Giants at pick No. 11. However, the Giants do have other needs outside of linebacker. They could use an interior defensive lineman, an offensive lineman, or another wide receiver due to the injury history of Sterling Shepard.

While I do expect the Giants to take Parsons at No. 11, there is a scenario in which the Patriots trade up with New York for a cornerback or quarterback, which would send the stud linebacker past the 11th pick and the 11.5 Over/Under threshold. The smart money is trending toward the Over on Parsons’ draft position.

 

Now that you’ve read our Micah Parsons 2021 Draft Prospect scouting report, stay tuned for more NFL Draft analysis. Then, after the 2021 NFL Draft, we’ll cover his impact on betting lines, odds and tips for his NFL team.

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