In the months before the 2021 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions are pondering plenty of fixes, most of which are likely to come on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately for the team, the draft class is not ripe with impact defenders this coming season.
Even though that’s the case, could a defender be the dream pick for the Lions when all is said and done? Answers to that question have been all over the board, but according to a new piece, the answer could be yes. Recently, Bleacher Report writer Maurice Moton took a stab at naming all the dream draft prospects for every team. When it came to the Lions, Micah Parsons was the pick.
ALL the latest Lions news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lions newsletter here!
Here’s what Moton wrote as to why:
“With a new regime in place, the Detroit Lions need a cornerstone player to kick off their draft.
Four years ago, the Lions selected linebacker Jarrad Davis in the first round, but he didn’t pan out into a high-level defender and lost his starting job this past season. The 26-year-old will become a free agent in March.
The Lions should take another swing at the position and select Penn State’s Micah Parsons. He can lock down the middle of their defense for about a decade.
Parsons opted out of the 2020 season but was phenomenal as a sophomore in 2019, logging 109 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, five sacks, five pass breakups and four forced fumbles. He isn’t an elite cover defender, though his athleticism gives him a chance to make strides in that area.
Moving toward the line of scrimmage, Parsons will provide stout run support and chase down quarterbacks. Don’t worry about his limited starting experience; the tape shows an instinctive three-down playmaker ready to start as a rookie.”
Obviously, Parsons is a talented player and the kind of guy who could come into his own playing for a team like Detroit given their massive need at linebacker. Many think he’s just the kind of player the team could need, but others aren’t sold that the Lions should be content to draft Parsons whenever. As ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper recently wrote, he wasn’t sure Parsons was worth the risk of a high pick for Detroit.
Even such, the team’s defense needs major help. With a lack of big name free agents around at linebacker, the next best move could be to nab a Parsons in the draft in order to improve the defense for the future. Doing so would give the Lions a player to build around.
Micah Parsons Compared to Former All-Pro Defender
In a recent mock draft, Pro Football Focus had the Lions going defense and selecting Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons. More interesting than that was the fact that Anthony Treash compared Parsons to former linebacker Luke Kuechly in terms of his talent.
“Detroit’s defense was brutal across the board in 2020, and adding Parsons — the best off-ball linebacker prospect since Luke Kuechly — would certainly help the team get that side of the ball out of the liability tier.
Parsons opted out of the 2020 season and didn’t play a down all year, but he was the highest-graded player at the position (91.6) the year prior. He shined in nearly every facet with a 94.8 run-defense grade, 26 pressures on 94 rushes and just six missed tackles on 111 attempts. The only knock is the subpar ball production (four pass breakups in two years), but the combination of power, explosiveness and overall athleticism for a human his size, along with the standout tackling, blitzing prowess and instinctual play, makes him a rare prospect.”
If Treash is right and Parsons becomes the second coming of Luke Kuechly, the Lions would have no choice but to consider him. The team has been devoid linebacking talent for a long time, and adding an instant impact player to the position could help the defense in a major way both in the short-term and long-term.
This is the first direct Kuechly comparison in a while, but given the accolades of the player, the Lions would be wise to keep Parsons in mind given this possible fact and all his success in the league.
Follow the Heavy on Lions Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Detroit!
Micah Parsons Stats and Highlights
Parsons figures to be in-play for the draft next season within the top 10 when the Lions pick, and the former Penn State linebacker figures to be a player that the team considers strongly thanks to their need not only on defense, but in the spot he plays. In college, Parsons was special, racking up 191 total tackles, 6.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles. The numbers would have been even better had Parsons not sat out the 2020 season, but it’s clear he is going to be one of the top picks in the draft as these clips show.
Parsons being in the mix to be selected by Detroit at pick seven would not be a surprise either, and that could be even more the case if he is a dream target.