Well he’s the best linebacker in this years draft class Geoff. Let’s start there. For me, he’s a length ahead of anybody else coming into the class at the same position, and is a total plug and play stud for any NFL team.
Let’s dig into his career so far and learn a little about him in my draft profile #8
Micah Parsons – LB Penn State
Parsons grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, playing both defensive end and running back in high school, as many high schoolers do. Playing both ways, when you’re that good, only adds to your arsenal of talent.
Micah Parsons was set to go to Ohio State, after being recruited as a 5* prospect on the edge. He attracted offer sheets from Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma etc, and of course Penn State.
Due to the ruling of the NCAA, a strange incident where Micah shook hands with Kirk Herbstreit meant Parsons was no longer allowed to be recruited by OSU. Herbstreit is a former Ohio State alumni quarterback, and the NCAA ruling states that recruits are not allowed to have contact with former student-athletes in the media.
So Parsons ended up staying closer to home, and committed to Penn State, and he made sure everybody found out who he was. His college career is impressive, and he deserves every bit of the top 10 draft selection heading his way.
Parsons only needed two seasons of college football to prove himself as an NFL talent, and only one season as a starter. He opted out of the 2020 season amidst the uncertainty of COVID, and went straight into preparation for the draft. Interestingly, he didn’t do it as a pass rusher, which was what he was recruited for. When he arrived at PSU, Micah Parsons declared an interest to instead play linebacker.
Head coach James Franklin gave him a shot at the starting role despite the fact that he was a true freshman and had only just switched into the position of middle line backer. Parsons only actually started one game that season in 2018, but led the team in tackles. Think about that…
In 2019, the 6 foot 2 inch stud had himself an even better year. Adding four forced fumbles to the two he had in 2018, plus 5 sacks, and 109 tackles.
Parsons size and speed as an off ball linebacker makes him an interesting prospect for many NFL teams. He’s a rare breed and possesses a uniqueness at the position that’s hard to find. This explains why there’s a gap between him and the next guy. He’s the type of player you could throw into your defence tomorrow, tell him to make a play, and he’ll make a play.
His speed shows up on tape, and because of that speed, he’s able to totally blow up plays in the backfield, cover across the middle, and get to the action incredibly quickly. He’s got himself a very high football IQ, and seems to be able to read what’s happening on the field in a split second.
Trick plays are a problem when you’re playing against Micah Parsons. You’ll see that number 11 flying around all over the place when you watch his highlight tapes for Penn State.
What stands out to me the most, is how varied his talents are. When you look at the tape, it’s a play blown up in the backfield, followed by stuffing a run play, followed by forcing a fumble off the edge, followed by chasing down a quarterback for a sack. He’s so diverse, and has that ability that will result in a commentator having to say his name on numerous occasions throughout a game.
Around two minutes, in the below tape, Parsons closes in on the quarterback so fast he doesn’t have time to secure the ball, so forces the fumble, and Penn State score from it. Yes he was untouched, but look how quickly he got there. Even the play call is drawn up to allow Parsons to make a play, and he delivers:
He can get sideline to sideline in a hurry, and run laterally with a running back all day long, you’re not going to get round him if he’s recognised what it is you’re doing, and he’ll use that speed to either run you right off the sideline, or bury you if you try and turn the corner. Just watch how quickly he’s wherever the ball is in his highlight tape.
He reads plays without any hesitation. Sometimes it looks like the opposing offence have given him the play before the snap. He follows his instincts and he’s right there, and then boom, plays over.
If I had to be critical of him, I’d say his tackling could improve. Wrapping up a little better maybe, but that’s a minor gripe which an NFL team will rep out of him i’m sure. Let’s remember he’s only actually played one year as a starter, so the upside on him is a little scary.
His performance in 2019 won him the college football Butkus-Fitzgerald linebacker of the year award, and he was also defensive MVP in the 2019 Cotton Bowl, where Penn State lined up against the Memphis Tigers, who were 12-1 at the time, and gave them hell. Largely due to Micah Parsons.
He gives me Devin White vibes. We’ve just seen White take his game to the next level for the Bucs this season, and become a pivotal part of that impressive defence. A year or two under Parsons belt in the league, and I expect him to turn out very similarly. Both can come down hill extremely quickly, read the game very well, and use their athleticism to their advantage. I’d go as far as saying Parsons is better athletically than Devin White is too, so he’s got everything he needs to be an every down linebacker in the modern NFL.
Micah Parsons is one of my favourite prospects going into the draft, and there’ll be a team somewhere who’s going to have him fall into their laps, where they simply can’t say no. Where does he fit best?
I’d be very surprised to see Parsons still available beyond the top 10. I think he’s perfect for the Lions if they’re happy with Jared Goff and don’t draft a quarterback. A defence like that, on a team in the early stages of a rebuild, needs a plug and play stud linebacker to come in and pull everything together. When your opposition suddenly have to accommodate for a guy who can blow up all your plays in the middle of the field, you can begin to build out from there.
He gives you a Bobby Wagner type threat. He’s that good on tape. I really like his upside and he’s one of my lowest risk picks of this years draft, in a similar way to the opinion I had on Chase Young last year.
A huge win for whoever picks him up.