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2021 NFL Draft Profile: Linebackers like Micah Parsons don’t come around very often

Appalachian State v Penn State Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Over the next few days, we here at The Phinsider will be bringing you player profiles focusing on some of the top players in this year’s draft class. Here, we will look at the player’s measurables, what the ‘eXpeRts aNd AnAlySts’ are saying about the prospect, and how each player fits in Miami’s offensive or defensive systems.

Here are the prospects we have covered so far.

Next up, Penn State linebacker Micah Parson

College Career

Career: 26 games, 191 total tackles (99solos), 6.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, 5 passes defended, 6 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery

  • Freshman (2018, PSU): 13 games, 82 total tackles (47 solos), 1.5 sacks, 4 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles
  • Sophomore (2019, PSU): 13 games,109 total tackles (52 solos), 5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, 5 passes defended, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery.


From PSU pro day:

Height: 6’3 1/8”

Weight: 246 lbs

Arm Length: 31.5”

Hand size: 11”

Spider Chart (via

Combine-style testing

From PSU pro day:

Bench Press: 19 reps

Vertical: 34”

Broad jump: 10’ 5”

40-yard dash: 4.36 sec

20-yard shuttle: 4.4sec

3-cone drill: 6.96 sec

What they are saying

Clay Sauertieg, Black Shoe Diaries - Parsons is just another level of athlete at the middle linebacker positions, a la Brian Urlacher, Patrick Willis or Luke Kuechly. I’ve seen some concerns about his instinctiveness, which I believe to be overblown and even if he doesn’t have the best instincts in the league, Parsons often has the athleticism to make up for it.

He’s an elite blitzer and pass rusher from the position and sheds blocks with ease. Parsons also makes sure that when he gets to the ball carrier, he brings them down, having been one of just two players in 2019 with more than 75 tackles and less than 10 misses according to Pro Football Focus.

Tony Pauline, - Micah Parsons is an elite linebacker prospect. But more than that, he’s an elite potential chess piece at the NFL level. Parsons needs to refine his mental game, but his athleticism is nearly unmatched, and it provides him with a ton of versatility. The late teens likely serve as Parsons’ floor, so the Penn State linebacker’s best fits will be reserved for those who’ll have an opportunity to select him.

Lance Zierlein, - 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.

Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network - Micah Parsons projects as a dynamic impact player at the NFL level. Parsons, who elected to opt-out of the 2020 college football season, has two seasons of high-impact play on his film resume and his impact was only further affirmed as the Penn State defense fell apart without him on the field for the 2020 season. 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. Parsons has illustrated an incredible level of pure instinct for the game thus far and his ability to navigate the line of scrimmage and rip at the football to create turnovers is best accentuated in an aggressive front defense that will task him with playing forward early in downs and not ask him to make flat footed reads before scraping and flowing to the ball.

Dolphins Fit

On the field, Micah Parsons is one of the most dynamic linebackers to enter the draft in years. However, it’s his questions off the field that could potentially see the Penn State linebacker fall into the middle of the first round. Could he fall all the way to #18? Unlikely. But if he does, Chris Grier and Brian Flores should run to the podium. (I say this because NFL teams should know more about the Parsons situation off the field than we do) Flores and Grier have shown they are willing to take a chance on a player or prospect with issues. (Again, I trust that they did their due diligence).

Micah Parsons is a talent like very few we’ve seen in the last decades. He can play inside or outside and has the ability to rush the passer from several fronts. He, to me, is the missing piece in the Dolphins’ defense. (Yes And if Brian Flores really wants to take this thing to the next level, finding a way to get a pass-catcher AND Micah Parsons is the perfect draft. (IMO)

How excited are you for tonight’s draft? Who do you think the Dolphins will take at #6? What about #18? Could they draft Micah Parsons? Should they draft Micah Parsons? Let us know in the comments section below!