The college football season may be in doubt, but Draft Season rolls on undeterred.
ESPN’s Todd McShay released his first ridiculously early 2021 mock draft Wednesday morning, and his pick of Penn State’s Micah Parsons is sure to please New York Giants fans.
Or at least the long-suffering subsection that have been pining for a firstround linebacker.
6. New York Giants
ILB, Micah Parsons, Penn State
Parsons was among the first to opt out of the 2020 season, but he’s a future NFL star. And while he still has some developing to do, I don’t need to see any more game action to tell me that. He has a big frame, range, athleticism, and cover skills to make an impact in the middle of a struggling Giants’ defense. And when given the green light as a blitzer, his instincts and speed allow him to get home on the quarterback, a bonus for a Giants’ defense that was in the bottom third of the league in sacks last season (36). He’d be the first linebacker taken by Big Blue in the first round since Carl Banks was selected No. 3 in 1984.
I would have a hard time arguing with this pick for the Giants. With Ja’marr Chase off the board, I would be torn between Parsons and Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau for the Giants at sixth overall. Rousseau has sky-high upside at a more valuable position — and a position at which the Giants need an infusion of talent.
However, Parsons’ upside is impressive to say the least. He is a natural communicator on defense with obvious instincts and easy movement skills in space. Likewise, he is an impressive athlete and has been clocked at a 4.43 second 40 yard dash at (listed) 6-foot-2, 245 pounds.
While the Giants just signed Blake Martinez, I wouldn’t let that stop me from drafting Parsons. Martinez was a tackling machine for the Packers, but many of his tackles came away from the line of scrimmage (an average of 4.1 yards downfield) as he cleaned up for the defensive line. Parsons is good in space, but doesn’t hesitate to attack his run fits coming downhill.
While he might not have the absurd combination of size, speed, and versatility that Isaiah Simmons has, Parsons has the potential to be the most complete linebacker to enter the NFL since Luke Keuchly. That would certainly be a nice thing to see on the Giants’ defense.