NFL Draft 2021: What if Penn State Football’s Micah Parsons slides?

Micah Parsons #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Micah Parsons #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Penn State Football’s Micah Parsons is widely viewed as one of the most disruptive and dominant defensive prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft, but could on draft night wind up a victim of the position he plays as few teams may covet an off-ball linebacker as highly as his skills and talents might merit.

Graded by several NFL teams and personnel executives as a top-10 pick, and the consensus linebacker in this year’s class, it is difficult to envision Parsons getting much past the NY Giants at No. 11 overall, if he even slides that far.

Given how often teams push quarterbacks up the board and the top-heavy nature of the wide receivers in this year’s class, even though he might be a top-five overall prospect based on talent, tape, and evaluation, there’s a possibility that Parsons could tumble.

That’s exactly what happens in CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso’s latest mock draft projection, as Parsons doesn’t hear his name called until the Las Vegas Raiders make their choice with the No. 17 overall pick:

"“Parsons would give the Raiders a quarterback of the defense at linebacker, and Parsons is a legitimate edge-rushing talent in obvious passing situations.”"

In Trapasso’s mock, Parsons is the seventh defensive player and second linebacker chosen.

Parsons, 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, is a prototypical inside linebacker whose natural position is defensive end, as he was a five-star recruit out of Harrisburg High School prior to developing into an All-American inside linebacker.

One veteran NFL personnel executive tells FanSided that he believes Parsons has more upside than Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ All-Pro Devin White, but contends that the former Nittany Lions‘ standout must refine certain aspects of his skill-set to become a perennial All-Pro.

“The thing that he has to do,” the executive tells VictoryBellRings. “Which is hard, is he needs to be better with his hands when taking on blocks. 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.

“Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis, they’re the best inside linebackers in the last 25 years … And what made them so good was their hand use. Once they got their hands on a lineman and stunned them, they’re so quick and fast, they could get off the blocks and make the tackle.”

If Parsons can master those hurdles, he has the chance to be the centerpiece of the Raiders’ or any team’s defense that drafts him.

Next. Round projections for each of Penn State's NFL Draft prospects. dark