Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons is often mentioned in the conversation among the best defensive players returning to college football in 2020. He’s projected as a potential top five pick in next year’s NFL Draft and is an early favorite to be named the B1G Defensive Player of the Year.
But Parsons’ talent far exceeds even those expectations. The rising junior could be the best linebacker in college football this season and potentially the best prospect the NFL Draft has seen at the position in nearly a decade.
Pro Football Focus draft analyst Mike Renner explained why Parsons is one of the best linebacker prospects we’ve seen recently.
“He isn’t just any top-10 pick — he’s the closest thing to a linebacker prototype since Luke Kuechly came out of Boston College back in 2012,” Renner stated.
Kuechly was the ninth overall selection in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
“Parsons has ideal size, athleticism, and production for a linebacker prospect, and he was only a sophomore last season. If he could have declared for the 2020 NFL Draft, the chances are he would have been selected before Isaiah Simmons.”
During his first two seasons in Happy Valley, Parsons has done a little bit of everything for the Nittany Lions. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound linebacker has collected 192 tackles with 19 for loss, 6.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and five pass break-ups.
Last season, Parsons was credited with 109 tackles, ranking third-highest in the B1G.
Along with his dominance at playing the linebacker position, Parsons could also become part of the Penn State special teams unit. Since arriving on campus, Parsons has begged for the opportunity to field kickoffs or punts to highlight his elite athleticism.
So far, head coach James Franklin hasn’t caved into that temptation but says it could be an option moving forward. If that’s the case, Parsons’ stock could skyrocket even more ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.