The Detroit Lions will begin to evaluate prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft soon, and along the way, it will be interesting to see what comparisons several are given.
At this point, there hasn’t been the depth of scouting from a normal offseason given the cancellation of the NFL Combine, which is a usual fixture at this time of year. As a result, folks are going to have to draw their own conclusions as it relates to scouting and player comparisons.
Detroit could go offense or defense when they pick seventh in April, and if they do elect to look to help the defensive side of the ball, they could find a very capable prospect to help them get it done. In a brand new 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.
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Lions Draft Defensive ‘Freak’ In Second Round of PFF Mock
This mock was defense-first for the Lions, and Parsons was not the only big addition the team made according to Treash and PFF. In the second round, the Lions scooped up safety Ar’Darius Washington from TCU. According to Treash, Washington is a solid prospect who could even have some freakish tendencies for the team.
“Detroit needs more playmakers in its secondary, and that’s precisely what Washington will provide. Look past his 5-foot-8 stature; there isn’t a more instinctual safety in this entire class than him. Washington also possesses elite change-of-direction ability and strength that is almost hard to believe.
Weighing in at under 180 pounds, he can still bench 370 pounds and squat 640 pounds. That landed him on Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks” list last summer. With the help of his many top-notch traits, Washington generated a top-three coverage grade among FBS safeties in each of the past two years.”
The Lions need freaks wherever they can find them on the field, so this would be a huge addition for the team if it plays out that way. Washington has put up 86 tackles and 5 interceptions in his college career for the Horned Frogs and could give the Lions some quality depth on the back end.
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’s especially the case if he compares with one of the best linebackers in the modern era.