Weight: 245 lbs
School: Penn State
Parsons immediately passes the eye test shortly after turning on the tape. He looks all of his 6’3, 245 lb measurements. Parsons has the big, athletic frame to play inside linebacker in the NFL. One of the best part of Parsons game is the way he plays the run. If you watch his tape, you will see him quickly read the guard and fullback, getting to where he needs to be. Parsons doesn’t shy away from contact. He’ll take on the blocker with force, use his hands to shed the block, and get his body in a good position to make a play. One of the key things that I had in my notes was that he plays everything downhill. That’s what you want to see out of an inside linebacker. Rarely did I see him “on skates”, as he attacked everything downhill to the correct aiming point. Penn State would also roll him down on the edge occasionally, and he would excel at holding the edge and taking on pulling lineman.
Against the pass, Parsons did a tremendous job in zone coverage. He always seemed to have a good feel for underneath routes. He was quick to get hands on the receiver, reroute him and get in his zone. He consistently showed good depth on his routes while reading his key. I noticed particularly how well he covered tight ends and running backs out of the backfield, which is a great trait for a solid NFL inside linebacker.
One thing I wish I would have seen more of was Parsons in man coverage. Penn State tended to be a zone heavy team in coverage. I would have liked to see him match up more with tight ends in man looks, as teams like the Packers will do from time to time. I think Parsons could excel as a Mike linebacker, but he didn’t get many chances to play the Mike position in Penn State’s stack look. Parsons can have a tendency to overrun plays from time to time, but really not much of an issue for him.
How Does He Fit?
I think Parsons will easily be the first inside linebacker to be taken in the draft. While I don’t see him landing in Green Bay, I think he will make a great linebacker for any 4-3 defense.
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