Opting out of the 2020 season, the dynamic linebacker Micah Parsons still has two seasons of high-impact play on his film. His impact on the Penn State defense was only further backed up when the Nittany Lion defense was in shambles during the 2020 season. His size combined with his explosiveness allows him to consistently hit the gaps and beat ball carriers and blockers to the spot. Character issues aside, Parsons has shown a pure instinct for the game and is a tough guy for anyone to block.
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Name: Micah Parsons
School: Penn State University
Weight: 245 lbs
Parsons is a very good tackler and does a great job of wrapping the runner up. He will very rarely miss a tackle and is reliable in getting a ball carrier to the ground once he has them in his sights.
Run Defense (9/10)
Parsons is disruptive in the backfield and will quickly read the play before darting to the ball. He has solid closing speed and change-of-direction ability to shut runs down. Using a quick play diagnosis, he bursts to the backfield and gets a number of tackles for loss. He had 14 TFL in 2019.
Hit Strength (9.5/10)
Parsons packs a punch as he goes to make a hit on a runner. His frame and strength cause a lot of disruption for opponents which led to six forced fumbles over his two seasons. If you see Parsons barreling at you downhill, watch out.
Coverage Ability (9/10)
The passing-centric modern NFL means that linebackers have to be good in coverage along with being skilled in tackling and run-stopping. That isn’t a problem for Parsons, as he has three-down starter potential and is great in pass defense. He covers a lot of ground in zone coverage and has the skillset to cover tight ends in man coverage. He has the size, strength, and speed to keep up with tight ends and stack them up.
Parsons is always in full pursuit of the ball and shows incredible instincts and read-and-react ability to wreak havoc. He also a solid blitzing ability because of this as he closes in on the quarterback and darts through the line to create pressure. He can sometimes get over-aggressive which trips him up from getting a true pursuit to the ball.
Positional Versatility (9.5/10)
Parsons can play in a number of spots on defense, on the inside on a 3-4 defense, as a Mike linebacker in 4-3, or a 4-3 Will linebacker. He will be a very versatile chess piece for the team that selects him and always at the center of their defense
As mentioned, Parsons has a keen ability to read plays and burst to the ball. He is always aware of where the ball is and looks to get to the backfield as quickly as he can.
Going hand-in-hand with his awareness, Parsons makes the decision to react to a play quickly and limit the yardage. In passing defense he shuts down the quarterback’s throwing lane as he stays with the pass catchers.
Maybe the only real weakness to his game, Parsons needs to improve his ability to get through blocks in the tackle box. He tended to try to use his speed to run around blocks that would get him off his pursuit. As he gains experience, his block-shedding and approach will improve.
Competitive Toughness (10/10)
Parsons has an outstanding drive to make a play every down and doesn’t let anyone push him around. While he may get knocked back at times, he will always be right in the play every time and make his presence known.
Parsons is a phenomenal athlete and dynamic prospect who will fit in on any team that drafts him. He has incredible skills that are helped by his brute strength, athleticism, and ability to wreak havoc in the backfield. You watch his tape and he is in the middle of every play over his two seasons at Penn State. He also has great coverage ability and will disrupt the play at any level. Don’t take the player comparison as a for sure thing, but Parsons has the potential to be just as good as Kuechly was.
Outside of the onfield skillset that Parsons has, he has some character issues that could cause him to fall slightly in the draft. He won’t fall too far and should still go in the top 15 as his talent is just too grand. The character flaws can be fixed as they are minor.
Final Grade (89/100): Top 15 Pick
Player Comp: Luke Kuechly
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