Continuing our series of draft profiles, I turn my attention to the defensive side of the ball. While Mykal Walker, Deion Jones, and Foyesade Oluokun were the strength of the Falcons defense in 2020, Dean Pees’ scheme will need more than three impact linebackers to make a difference, and Parsons would likely give Atlanta the best linebacking core in the league.
Parsons is a rangy jack-of-all-trades backer that makes an impact every time he steps on the field. Originally recruited as a five-star pass rusher, he has evolved his game to so much more. I’ll start with the concerns and move into what I like about him after.
- This truly cannot be ignored. There are very serious sexual misconduct and hazing allegations against Penn State, and Parsons was named in the report. It’s rumored that some teams like Miami and Denver have removed him from their draft boards, so Parsons could take a MASSIVE tumble on draft day. None of this is confirmed, but you better believe the Falcons will be doing their homework on the situation.
- Parsons may be a jack-of-all-trades, but he could also become a master of none. He’s a dynamic blitzer up the middle, so he has a natural fit and fills the MIKE need for Atlanta. Allowing Deion Jones to move back to his more natural WILL role is enticing, but drafting a MIKE this early is a gamble.
Why he could be great in the NFL
- Outside of the ugly allegations, on the field — Parsons is as clean of a prospect as they come. He has natural instincts and played a lot of positions very well.
- Parsons is a hellish blitzer with enough athleticism to move around in space. He fills running lanes and has a nose for the football.
- Parsons is rangy with explosive ability to find the football and cover the flats. This is important in a division with Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, and possibly Travis Etienne, whom I believe is a good fit for Tampa Bay at the end of the first round one. His natural comparison is Devin White or even Bobby Wagner.
Parsons has some MASSIVE question marks off the field, but he could transform this Atlanta defense overnight if his character checks out. He has the potential to be an elite talent in multiple roles and provide the Falcons with a true impact player defensively — something they desperately need.