Micah Parsons didn't play last fall, but that hasn't impacted how the Penn State linebacker is viewed in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Parsons isn't just the top linebacker in this year's draft, he's one of the top prospects period. He's a virtual lock to go early in the first round with a strong chance to be among the first 10 picks.
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Micah Parsons Draft Profile
College: Penn State
Parsons is the total package as a stack linebacker, with prototypical traits for the modern NFL. He has both the athleticism and the functional strength to stay on the field in any situation. His movement skills stand out; he’s a fast and fluid mover who locates the ball and gets there quickly. But unlike a lot of faster linebackers, Parsons also has legitimate take-on skills, thanks to functional strength and long arms. He’ll stack and shed blocks and work his way through traffic to get to the ball. His length and athleticism give him a large tackle radius. He brings value in a few different ways on passing downs; his pure athleticism allows him to shadow even the most athletic tight ends in man coverage, and he’s instinctive when dropping into zone coverage. He’s even better as a blitzer, thanks to explosiveness off the snap, contact balance and closing speed. He would likely be a quality edge rusher if he lined up there regularly.
The Big Ten doesn’t provide many challenges for top prospects outside of matchups with Ohio State, and the 2019 tape against the Buckeyes was a relative low point for Parsons. Too often in that matchup — against a well-designed offense with the kind of athletes he’ll face in the NFL — he overran plays and struggled to locate the ball.
Fast, physical and instinctive, Parsons is the prototype for a modern linebacker. He’s scheme-versatile and capable of lining up as anything from a dime linebacker to an edge rusher with his hand in the dirt. As he plays more reps and his instincts continue to improve, there’s All-Pro potential.
Final Grade: 1st round