NFL Draft 2021: Micah Parsons at 12? ESPN’s McShay explains the mock draft pick

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Dave Zangaro
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Todd McShay explains why he mocked Micah Parsons to Eagles originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Todd McShay had the Eagles’ taking Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons from Penn State with the 12th pick.

On Monday, during a national conference call, McShay got a chance to explain why he gave the Eagles Parsons at 12.

“That was a tricky one,” McShay said. “First of all, they made the move to move back. And you have to assume if you’re Howie (Roseman) that you’re moving out of that pass catcher range of the top four guys, Kyle Pitts, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle and Ja’Marr Chase.

“So if you’re moving back to that spot at 12 — and I think wide receiver is probably the biggest area where they need help — but corner and linebacker are the two other spots that I think are high priorities in terms of needs. I think I already had Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn coming off the board prior to where they picked at 12. So I went with the best defensive player and again a linebacker.”

So it seems like the way the first 11 picks went in McShay’s mock draft almost forced his hand. All four of those top pass catchers were gone as well as the top two cornerbacks.

Here’s a reminder of his first 11 picks:

1. Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

2. Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

3. 49ers: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

4. Falcons: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

5. Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

6. Dolphins: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

7. Panthers (trade up): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

8. Lions: (trade down): Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

9. Broncos: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

10. Cowboys: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

11. Patriots (trade up): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

If the draft went this way, the Eagles would also have the opportunity to take their pick of offensive linemen or defensive linemen, which might be attractive to a franchise that has always valued building through their lines.

Meanwhile, it would be a slight surprise if the Eagles took Parsons in the first round simply because the Eagles haven’t taken an off-ball linebacker in the first round in over four decades.

As we’ve discussed recently on the Eagle Eye podcast, there are some signs that this new coaching staff will value linebackers more than the past staff. New DC Jonathan Gannon comes from Indianapolis and before that Minnesota; linebackers are important in both spots. Would that be enough to get the Eagles to take Parsons at 12? Not sure.

But it’s clear that McShay really likes Parsons.

“And Parsons is a stud,” McShay said. “He could go a little earlier, maybe he falls a few picks later. But he is long, he ran a [4.39], I think, at 246 pounds. He’s 6-3, 246 and ran in the 4.3s. That’s so rare. He’s not just a sideline-to-sideline run defender. He can cover and he can also rush the passer. There are so few guys you can get like that, that can step in right away, be ready to play and can be on the field all three downs. And not only play the run but also do multiple things in the passing game. That’s why I put Parsons there.”

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