The NY Giants would be wise to consider adding the explosive former linebacker from Penn State in Micah Parsons.
The NY Giants need to keep building their linebacker corps.
New York needs to figure out who their definitive starters are next to Blake Martinez.
Tae Crowder may be an option next to Martinez but both outside linebacker spots are unknown due to the pending status of both Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter. Both players have not shown much in their five combined seasons that they can be productive and healthy full-time starters.
As a result, the NY Giants will look to the draft to add more speed, coverage skills, and overall talent for the second level of their defense.
Enter Micah Parsons, the best linebacker in the 2021 NFL Draft from Penn State.
FanSided’s Matt Lombardo offered some interesting nuggets in his weekly national NFL column this week. Matt spoke to league executives that gave their input on Micah Parsons.
An NFL personnel executive offered effusive praise to Parsons, comparing him to one of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ most disruptive linebackers.
“He can be a game-changer,” the executive said. “Devin White, who I loved coming out of LSU, Micah is a much better prospect than him. Devin was very athletic, very fast, you see it on the NFL level.”
White is a bonafide star at linebacker and just helped the Bucs win the Super Bowl with their suffocating defense and White clinched the game with the interception in the endzone for the icing on the cake.
“I like Micah a lot,” the executive says. “I like the fact that he moves and plays like he’s a 235-pound guy, and he’s 245-250 pounds. That’s very unique. He flies around, but yet he brings substance with him, and that’s hard to find.”
Simply put, there aren’t athletic freaks running around at linebacker like Parsons. He truly is a unique blend of incredible athleticism, with a high football IQ and proven production.
Parsons opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He ended his college career in Happy Valley with 191 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, 6.5 forced fumbles, and 6.5 sacks in two seasons.
“Most of the time, you get guys who are that fast and that quick but weigh 230 pounds and you can’t figure out where to play him,” the executive says. “This guy moves like that, plays like that, hits like that, and all of a sudden it’s like ‘holy shit, you can play this guy anywhere.’ You can play Micah at inside linebacker, outside backer, he can put his hand in the dirt on third down if you want him to and rush the passer with him.”
As promising as Micah is as a prospect, he is not perfect. He has some things he still needs to correct to reach the NFL level.
“The thing that he has to do, which is hard, is he needs to be better with his hands when taking on blocks. He doesn’t like using his hands. He’s so quick and fast that Big Ten offensive linemen couldn’t get on him, but in the NFL, they can. Once they get on you, I don’t care if you’re 245 or 250 pounds, they’re between 300 and 350, they’re going to wrangle you. To be a really good inside player, he needs to learn that.”
“Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis, they’re the best inside linebackers in the last 25 years,” the executive says. “And what made them so good was their hand use. Once they got their hands on a lineman and stunned them, they’re so quick and fast, they could get off the blocks and make the tackle.
As the team executive says, “The one thing Micah has to do, is he has to use his hands inside vs. traffic to become the kind of player he has the potential to be. If he figures that out, he’s going to be a perennial All-Pro for as many years as he wants to be.”
Comparing Micah to the greatest linebackers of this generation is a big statement. Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis were the two most dominant and physically imposing linebackers since the turn of the century. If Micah can figure out how to keep shedding blockers and making tackles, he can become a regular in the NFL Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.