Year in and year out fans are talking about the Lions being an awful team, picking high in the NFL Draft annually. This year is no different, as the Lions find themselves picking #7 in 2021.
The Lions have hit the reset button. Matt Stafford is gone, and Jared Goff is the new QB, for now, in Detroit. The Lions are also without number one receiver Kenny Golladay, who signed a big four-year deal with the New York Giants this offseason.
With a new head coach, new QB, and a lot of needs, what will the Lions do at #7? Truthfully, it’s a perfect time for the Lions to take the best player available and snag stud linebacker Micah Parsons out of Penn State.
Simply put, Parsons is an absolute freak. After running a 4.39 40-yard dash at the Penn State pro day, Parsons separated himself as the top linebacker in this year’s draft class.
He was sensational in two seasons at Penn State. In Parsons’ sophomore season specifically, he recorded 109 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, five sacks, and five pass break-ups in 13 games with 12 starts. His freshmen season wasn’t disappointing either, leading the team with 83 tackles. In 13 games (only one start), he also recorded five tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks on his way to a Freshman All-American season. Parsons opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.
Parsons has the athleticism to an elite linebacker at the next level. He proved that time and time again at Penn State. He has very good size, standing 6-foot-3, 245 lbs., and can excel at the next level thanks to his elite speed as a linebacker. He fits the desired makeup of an elite linebacker in today’s NFL.
Contrary to popular belief, there are some knocks on Parsons’ game. His speed and ability to play the position are not in question, but his instincts and effort are in question at times.
His instincts have been considered “hot and cold” per the Pro Football Network. That can sometimes lead to a lack of aggressiveness which prevents his skillset from flourishing. Another common knock is his tendency to not run through his tackles, which can lead to broken tackles at the next level. It may have been something he got away with in college, but NFL running backs, and skill players in general, will expose him if he doesn’t clean that up.
That said, mostly every knock on Parsons is fixable and coachable. If he ends up with a good defensive coaching staff, which Detroit seems to be building under fiery head coach Dan Campbell, then he can develop into an elite linebacker in the NFL.
Parsons is the perfect player for a rebuilding franchise such as the Lions. They have plenty of needs, but taking the best defensive player available will be hard to pass up. Sure, getting a receiver such as Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith make a lot of sense for the Lions at #7, but passing up on Parsons should be something the Lions avoid.
Dan Campbell and company are looking for players that they can build around on both sides of the ball. Defensively, the Lions were at the bottom of the league in numerous categories and could use a game changer on that side of the ball. With a player like Micah Parsons, the defense will have a core piece to build around for years to come in the Motor City.
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