The Jacksonville Jaguars are probably performing due diligence on this year’s draft class prospects and they have surely taken a look at Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons. Even though they may not have a realistic shot at drafting him due to their draft position, should they pursue him if he somehow were available when they’re on the clock?
Parsons is one of the most physically gifted prospects in this year’s draft class. His sideline-to-sideline speed and his range are exceptional. He also excels at rushing the passer due to his experience playing defensive end at a high level in High School and is an asset against the run, earning a 94.8 run-defense grade in 2019, the highest by a linebacker in Pro Football Focus history.
Even though he opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, the consensus is he will be a Top 10 pick in 2021’s draft. As a sophomore in 2019, he logged 109 total tackles (14.0 for a loss), five sacks, and four forced fumbles. Moreover, he was a Consensus All-American and a First-Team All-Big Ten in the same year.
The Jacksonville Jaguars need to be aware of the red flags.
Nobody will deny the fact Parsons is a top draft prospect. However, there’s a chance he may struggle in pass coverage in the NFL. Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report recently pointed out the Penn State product isn’t accustomed to dropping into space and it’s uncertain if he can do it at the NFL level.
Sobleski goes on to say that he did a solid job in college but the difference in talent at the pro level is significant and may have a hard time covering tight ends and running backs in the NFL. Linebackers that can’t cover get out the field in obvious pass situations, which in turn limit the impact they can have on the field.
Moreover, Parsons allegedly took part in a fight with a teammate in 2018 that involved punching, choking, and a knife being pulled. There’s also a lawsuit filed against Penn State that accuses players of engaging in hazing acts that stimulated sexual assault. He’s not named a defendant but is named as one of the players that participated in the harassment.
It’s not uncommon to see players slide on draft day due to character red flags, but it’s uncertain how much this information could affect Parsons’ draft stock. Teams will ultimately run a background check on him and rank him accordingly. Nevertheless, this is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Do the Jacksonville Jaguars have a realistic shot of drafting Parsons?
Parsons is currently a top ten prospect and NFL Mock projects that the Detroit Lions will use the seventh overall selection in 2021’s draft on him. Nevertheless, he could potentially slide down due to the actions that allegedly took place at Penn State and the lack of uncertainty regarding his coverage skills.
Although it’s almost a certainty the ‘Jags’ will use the first overall selection to take Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, they have another selection in the first round, the 25th overall. Dalton Miller of the Pro Football Network thinks they could draft Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah with that pick, but if both the Notre Dame linebacker and Parsons were available at 25, what would they do?
Parsons’ elite traits are unquestionable, but Owusu-Koramoah doesn’t carry the flags the former does. Would the Jaguars still take a flyer on the Penn State product? That’s a scenario their front office should consider as unlikely as it may be.