A former NFL executive believes Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons can be a perennial All-Pro and one of the first defensive players chosen in the 2021 NFL Draft, VictoryBellRings’s Matt Lombardo reports.
Parsons, who elected to opt-out of the 2020 college football season, has two seasons of collegiate play on his resume and his impact was reaffirmed as the Penn State defense fell apart without him on the field for the 2020 season.
A long-time NFL personnel executive spoke with VictoryBellRings on the condition of anonymity so he could speak freely on Parsons as he still consults for several teams.
“He can be a game-changer,” the exec said. “Devin White, who I loved coming out of LSU, Micah is a much better prospect than him. Devin was very athletic, very fast, you see it on the NFL level.”
White, one of the NFL’s premier inside linebackers who plays for Tampa Bay, produced a game-high 12 total tackles, two tackles for loss and breaking up a pass during the Super Bowl.
Pro Football Focus recently named Parsons to the outlet’s All-Era team, as the highest-graded linebacker prospect they have evaluated, giving him an all-time high run-stopping grade of 94.9.
“I like Micah a lot,” the executive said. “I like the fact that he moves and plays like he’s a 235-pound guy, and he’s 245-250 pounds. That’s very unique. He flies around, but yet he brings substance with him, and that’s hard to find.”
Parsons’ versatility is only going to bolster his stock as April’s NFL Draft fast approaches.
The executive said given the way NFL defenses now weaponize their playmakers to exploit mismatches along opposing offensive lines, Parsons has the chance to be an every-down player.
“The thing that he has to do, which is hard, is he needs to be better with his hands when taking on blocks,” he said. “He doesn’t like using his hands. He’s so quick and fast that Big Ten offensive linemen couldn’t get on him, but in the NFL, they can. Once they get on you, I don’t care if you’re 245 or 250 pounds, they’re between 300 and 350, they’re going to wrangle you. To be a really good inside player, he needs to learn that.”