According to several scouts, Micah Parson could be a playing at an All-Pro level for his NFL franchise.
One of the biggest questions fans and scouts will have on prospects is personnel fit. Sometimes teams view outside linebackers best suited inside, while others believe size doesn’t matter at the boundary cornerback position.
So, what do with Penn State’s Micah Parsons? It’s simple: You play him and profit.
The former Nittany Lion standout will be entering the NFL Draft this April, with hopes of becoming the league’s next star off-ball linebacker. Add in his pass-rushing ability off the edge and there’s a three-down thumper in the making.
So, what’s one this year’s draft unicorn’s upside? Some believe it could be as high as Devin White by the time he becomes established at his next role.
“He can be a game-changer,” a long-time NFL personnel executive told FanSided’s Matt Lombardo earlier this week. “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.”
In Fansided’s recent mock draft, Parsons landed ninth overall to become the general of the Denver Broncos’ defense under legendary guru Vic Fangio.
Is there a similarity between White and Parsons?
Drafted fifth overall in 2019, White became an instant star for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ defensive front seven. Even with missing the opening weekend of his first NFL playoffs, the middle linebacker led all defenders in tackles this postseason with 38 total stops.
In the team’s 31-9 Super Bowl victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, White played an essential role, tallying a team-high 12 tackles and forcing the final interception the seal Tampa Bay’s first Super Bowl win since 2003.
Parsons, who opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tallied 191 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, forced six fumbles during his two seasons as a starter. His instincts allow him to play a sideline-to-sideline approach against the run.
The speed also has proven to be a mismatch for slower tackles on initial snap when blitzing. It’s a reason why executives believe his role is unlimited no matter the schematic fit.
“This guy moves like that, plays like that, hits like that, and all of a sudden it’s like ‘holy s**t, you can play this guy anywhere,’” the executive said. “You can play Micah at inside linebacker, outside backer, he can put his hand in the dirt on third down if you want him to and rush the passer with him.”
Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Patrick Willis have been considered by many to be the greatest middle linebackers over the past 25 years. A new regime could have White be the leading man at a position that is becoming more versatile due to speed on offense.
Although he didn’t play last season, don’t sleep on Parsons. It could be a matter of weeks before offensive coordinators are circling his name on the depth chart when strategizing to win.
“The one thing Micah has to do, is he has to use his hands inside vs. traffic to become the kind of player he has the potential to be,” the executive said. “If he figures that out, he’s going to be a perennial All-Pro for as many years as he wants to be.”