Micah Parsons 2021 NFL Draft Profile: Why Giants should target Penn State edge rusher

Alex Smith
·3 min read
Micah Parsons Treated Image
Micah Parsons Treated Image

The Giants have a chance to land a real difference-maker with the 11th overall selection as they continue to rebuild.

With the draft approaching, we're taking an in-depth look at some potential options for the Giants. Here’s a look at Penn State LB Micah Parsons...

By the Numbers

- Height: 6-foot-3
- Weight: 246 pounds
- 40-yard dash: 4.39 seconds (PSU Pro Day)
- Vertical jump: 34 inches (PSU Pro Day)
- Stats: 191 total tackles in 26 games played, 6.5 sacks, 18.0 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery
- Accolades & Awards: 2018 Freshman All-American, 2019 AP All-American First Team, 2019 All-Big 10 First Team, 2019 Big 10 Linebacker of the Year

Prospect Overview

NFL.com: Performance-grade inside/outside linebacker prospect possessing an NFL-ready frame and explosive speed that could make him a highly productive talent at the next level. He’s most impactful when he’s kept clean and allowed to run and chase the action, but carries no physical limitations into the pros. His instincts and play recognition need to catch up with his physical gifts in order to play downhill and find the most efficient routes to the football. His rush talent is a potential wild card in how teams decide to use him, but he’s likely to show rapid improvement and should be a Day 1 starter.

The Draft Network: Micah Parsons projects as a dynamic impact player at the NFL level..... Parsons, who was a prized recruit as a pass rusher coming out of high school, is still ironing out some of finer points of play processing on the second level but his freakish combination of size and explosiveness allow him to explode and drive into gaps when he sees the play develop and as a result he's a persistent winner of beating ball carriers and blockers to the spot between the tackles. Parsons is an impact player on third downs, which significantly boosts his value to pro teams and masks some of the inexperiences of transitioning to stack linebacker. He's a dynamic blitzer and has the versatility to rush against offensive linemen and claim victories to get home to the quarterback.

Why Parsons makes sense for Giants

Over the last decade, the Giants have drafted a couple of talented defensive players in the first round, namely Prince Amukamara (2011) and Dexter Lawrence (2019). But there’s also been a couple of defensive misses in Eli Apple (2016) and Deandre Baker (2019).

Even with some talented names in the mix, the Giants haven’t drafted a true defensive game-changer since Jason Pierre-Paul in 2010.

Parsons could change all of that.

The Penn State linebacker can simply fly around the field, as his 4.39 40-yard dash time would put him among the fastest linebackers in the history of the NFL Combine.

Blake Martinez had a very strong season with the Giants in 2020 at the middle linebacker spot and is still under contract for the next two seasons, and pairing him with a player like Parsons could give the Giants a dynamic linebacking duo who could stay on the field in both base and nickel packages.

Parsons is also very intriguing as a potential pass-rushing option with his lightning speed, and with Giants DC Patrick Graham scheming multiple looks up front, having Parsons in a hybrid pass-rusher/coverage linebacker role could be a perfect fit.

NFL Comp

NFL.com: Myles Jack

Walter Football: Dont'a Hightower

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