2021 NFL Draft: Micah Parsons draft stock not affected by opt-out

2021 NFL Draft prospect, Micah Parsons #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
2021 NFL Draft prospect, Micah Parsons #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Despite his decision to opt-out, Micah Parsons will still go very high in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The opt-outs are continuing at the collegiate level, as Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons is reportedly opting out of the 2020 season. Parsons is ranked very highly in scouting circles and is currently the top defender in the 2021 NFL Draft for many analysts. His potential is through the roof, and he shows enough versatility to play the WILL, MIKE, and SAM position at the next level, even flexing some pass-rushing chops.

So will the opt-out affect his draft stock? It’s hard to say, mostly because us writers don’t have inside info on what the NFL thinks of Parsons right now. However, with the recent trend of linebackers going in the top 10 of the draft, it suggests that sitting out won’t mean much.

The 2021 linebacker class is already shaping up to be good at the top with Parsons, Dylan Moses, and Nick Bolton. There are others who could end up rising throughout the process, but those three are the cream of the crop right now.

Parsons is still at the top though, for a few reasons. We briefly discussed his versatility to play all linebacker spots and rush the passer. He’s very effective as a blitzer and is great making plays downhill. Parsons also shows the range to work the sidelines and has a good feel in coverage.

Combining the film we’ve seen so far with the way he should test at the combine, and it’s hard to imagine some team won’t select him in the top 10 when April runs around. But, who could select him early?

Early projections have plenty of teams who would take a swing in the top 10. The New York Giants could use a player with the versatility Parsons provides and could start him immediately at the WILL or MIKE spot. Even after signing C.J. Mosley, the New York Jets could end up in the mix.

Carolina could find the next captain of their defense if they decided to go in that direction. The Dolphins, for as much as they’ve added to their defense, would likely welcome a player of Parsons’ caliber. If Arizona or Detroit finds a way back up near the top, either of them could decide Parsons is their guy.

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To summarize, as we’ve seen what Parsons can do on the field, his expected testing numbers, and the need at the top of the 2021 NFL Draft, it’s hard to believe his stock will take any major hit. He should end up in the top 10 in April, and at the worst, the top 15.