2021 Draft Profile: Penn State LB Micah Parsons


Photo Courtesy of Samantha Wilson

Penn State Linebacker, Micah Parsons, opted out of his 2020 collegiate season. However, he is still regarded as far and away the best defensive prospect in the 2021 Draft; he’s that good.


Parsons had a breakout campaign in 2019 and proved his worth. In his Sophomore season Parsons was named a consensus NCAA All-American. The Associated Press, USA Today, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Focus, and Bleacher Report all tabbed Parsons a First Team All-American. He was named a Second Team All-American by CBS Sports, Football Writers Association of America, The Athletic, and others.

Parsons became the first Sophomore in Big Ten history to win the Butkus-Fitzgerald Award which crowned the best Linebacker in the Big Ten. Parsons was also a Butkus Award finalist (CFB best Linebacker), and a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (CFB best Defensive Player). He was also a member of the All-Big Ten first team.

During his Freshman campaign Parsons was selected to The Athletic’s Freshman All-American team, and was a Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection.

The accolades speak volumes of Micah Parsons’ abilities and production in just two seasons in Happy Valley.


  • Height: 6’3
  • Weight: 245 LBs
  • Unofficial 40-yard dash: 4.43
  • Unofficial short shuttle: 4.24
2019 Stats
  • Games: 13
  • Solo Tackles: 52
  • Assisted Tackles: 57
  • Tackles for Loss: 14.0
  • Sacks: 5.0
  • Forced Fumbles: 4
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Passes Defended: 5
Career Stats (2018 & 2019)
  • Games: 26
  • Solo Tackles: 91
  • Assisted Tackles: 87
  • Tackles for Loss: 18.0
  • Sacks: 6.5
  • Forced Fumbles: 6
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Passes Defended: 5

Film Study

Games Watched: Michigan, Memphis, Minnesota, Ohio State, Buffalo, 2018 Pittsburgh, 2018 Wisconsin, 2018 Iowa

Best Film: Memphis (2019 Cotton Bowl)

7 solo tackles, 7 assisted tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 passes defended

Worst Film: Minnesota

6 solo tackles, 5 assisted tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks

Best Traits:

Size, athleticism, versatility, instincts, toughness, tackling ability, blitzing ability, closing speed

Worst Traits:

Overly aggressive, pass coverage, hand usage, technique (at times)


Parsons is extremely versatile and he has played ILB/OLB, EDGE, even some DT. His instincts are well above average, and he is always around the ball. He has a high motor and is very active pre-snap. Parsons is a prototypical, “new age” NFL backer that plays sideline to sideline, while also being able to generate a solid pass rush. He shows up on big stages and never quits on plays with phenomenal pursuit ability coupled with elite closing speed. Parsons’ body type allows for him to gain tons of ground with long strides and he can quickly change directions. He is a very athletic tackler and rarely misses, especially in the open field. He locates the football well and attacks blockers with his raw power and quickness. Parsons is a bonafide playmaker that played in one of the best conferences in CFB.


Parsons lacks pass coverage ability at times, particularly in zone coverage. He illustrates tight hips in coverage and back pedals rather than opening his hips to gain depth. He tends to rely on his athleticism too much and takes himself out of plays in the run game. Parsons will get up field and overrun the ball-carrier, and he doesn’t seem to key on OL reads steadily. He undercuts blocks rather then using proper technique (split blockers in half). These are all teachable corrections at the next level.

Final Thoughts

Parsons is a generational Linebacker that will excel as a playmaker for any NFL franchise. His athleticism and versatility will allow him to play any Linebacker position at the next level. Parsons needs to work on his pass coverage and run reads. NFL players are just as athletic as he is, so he needs to improve fundamentals which comes with coaching & experience. Parsons would be a blessing to any team and will be a day one starter given the right fit. He is hands down the best defensive player in his class, even though he sat out for a full collegiate season.

Round Projection: Early 1st Round
Pick Projection: 4th – 10th overall
NFL Comparison: Patrick Willis and C.J. Mosley
Video Courtesy of Penn State Films

Thank you for reading, and be sure to follow me on Twitter for more 2021 NFL Draft coverage @Luke_StansNFL.

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