‘Freakishly’ Athletic LB Linked to Patriots in NFL Draft

Getty Micah Parsons

There is a lot of attention being paid to the New England Patriots‘ quarterback situation, and that’s with good reason. The team’s offense in 2020 was too one dimensional, and something must be done to improve in that area.

That said, the run defense wasn’t anything to write home about. The Patriots ranked 26th in rushing yards allowed in 2020, and much of that falls on an undermanned and inexperienced linebacker group that struggled to tackle and hold their ground on the second level. After the Patriots address their offense at quarterback, wide receiver, and tight end, they have to do something to improve at linebacker.

Perhaps the help they need could come in Penn State’s Micah Parsons.

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Daniel Jeremiah Has the Patriots Taking Micah Parsons

Depending on the mock draft, the Patriots are being projected to draft a host of different players. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, who is one of the league’s official site’s mock gurus has all of the top quarterbacks besides Mac Jones off the board by the time the Patriots pick at No. 15.

Even with Jones available, Jeremiah believes the Patriots would elect to go with Parsons to help solidify the middle of their defense.

Jeremiah’s brief explanation says:

“Parsons is an explosive, versatile playmaker, and the Patriots need to get faster on defense.”

Versatility is pretty much a prerequisite for a Patriots linebacker as they are often asked to play multiple roles. Explosiveness is a quality that is lacking, aside from rookie Josh Uche, so if Parsons could bring that to New England’s defense, it would be a definite plus.

Second Opinions

While The Draft Network didn’t offer a mock draft in this instance, they did have a pretty detailed scouting report available on Parsons.

Here’s what they wrote about the 21-year-old:

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.

If Parsons could offer insurance and depth behind Dont’a Hightower–assuming he returns after opting out of the 2020 season due to concerns about COVID-19–or become his replacement, he’d be worth taking with the 15th overall pick.

In Jeremiah’s scenario, there is a chance the Patriots might still have a shot at drafting Jones in the second round if he’s still around. However, this would mean the Patriots aren’t planning to use the No. 15 pick to try and trade for the Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford.

There are plenty of major decisions to be made that will shape the Patriots’ 2021 season.

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