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NFL Draft

3 Likeliest Landing Spots for Micah Parsons

  • The Draft Network
  • April 20, 2021
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We are reaching the home stretch of the 2021 NFL Draft evaluation process and soon draft day will officially be upon us. NFL fans everywhere are going to be able to welcome new players to their teams and I’m sure some fan bases will have some strong reactions to whatever player their team picks in the first and second rounds. As someone who no longer identifies as a fan of any specific team, I am less interested in one team selecting a particular player and more interested in specific players and their team fits.

One player who throughout this evaluation process I have found myself being a big fan of is Penn State’s linebacker Micah Parsons. I remember over the summer when I first watched Parsons’ film and was just completely blown away by his skill set and projection to the next level. Watching his game against Memphis in the Cotton Bowl in 2019 was something that still sticks out, as I couldn’t believe the combination of athleticism, size, and instincts that he put on display. Unfortunately for draft analysts like me and scouts in the league, Parsons elected to opt out of the 2020 college football season, leaving just his 2018 and 2019 tape to evaluate.

Even though Parsons decided to opt out of the season and focus on the NFL draft, his stock hasn’t necessarily been affected at all. Parsons is widely considered to be one of the best defensive players in the draft and should absolutely be the first linebacker to come off the board. The question that still remains is just how high will Parsons hear his name called?

Depending on which mock draft you take a look at, you may see Parsons go as early as No. 7 to the Detroit Lions, or he may fall all the down to the 20s. Here are what I believe to be Parsons' most realistic landing spots and how he fits within each defense. 

Detroit Lions (No. 7 overall)

Detroit at No. 7 is the first team in the top 10 that would strongly consider drafting a defensive player. Ultimately, I think this choice will come down to a wide receiver, perhaps DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle, but if the team opts to go another position, I believe Parsons will be their guy. The Lions have a big need at linebacker as the team let Jarrad Davis and Reggie Ragland walk in free agency and didn’t re-sign veteran Christian Jones. New defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn is also likely to be switching this defense from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 scheme as that’s what he coached while with the New Orleans Saints. Detroit will need to add more speed and range to their linebacker corps if they are to successfully transition to a 4-3 defense, and that is something Parsons has in abundance.

Parsons put on a show at his pro day, running a reported 4.39 40-yard dash. As new head coach Dan Campbell looks to build this football team full of kneecap biters and tough players, Parsons' physical style of play and the intensity he brings to the game could be very appealing.

New York Giants (No. 11 overall)

The Giants are another team who I think could go defense early, although I could easily justify the team selecting a receiver or an offensive lineman. If the team does decide to address the defensive side of the football, I think Parsons will be the pick. The Giants could use another inside linebacker to play next to Blake Martinez and Parsons could be the missing piece to a defense that actually did show some promise in 2020. Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham is a rising star in the league and someone I could see being a head coach in the near future. Graham utilizes an odd front scheme and likes to rush his backers which plays into Parsons’ skill set perfectly.

One of the things that really stood out when evaluating Parsons was his timing and explosiveness as a blitzing linebacker. He is easily able to time the snap and get past offensive linemen with very little challenge, and he closes violently on the quarterback with an outstanding ability to finish. I would love to see how Graham uses Parsons and I think this would be a really good fit for both the team and player.

New England Patriots (No. 15 overall)

I know there are some mock drafts where Parsons falls past this pick, but I just cannot envision a scenario where the Patriots don’t take him at No. 15 or a team doesn't trade up for him. He’s simply too good of a player to fall any further than here and I think this is his floor. His fit with the Patriots is easy to project. Head coach Bill Belichick is known for using multiple fronts and being creative with his personnel to get his athletes in the best situations for them to succeed. For Parsons, that means moving him around and allowing him to rush the quarterback from both A-gaps and outside.

One of the players that Parsons reminds me most of is a young Dont'a Hightower and I’d love to see him play alongside Hightower and learn a thing or two. A linebacking corps that consists of Matthew Judon, Parsons, Hightower, and Kyle Van Noy with Belichick coaching them up would be unfair.

If you'd like to wager on Parsons' over/under draft position, head on over to BetOnline.

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