Are the Risks too Severe to Draft Micah Parsons in the Top 10?



One of the most entertaining prospects to watch is Penn State's Micah Parsons. This guy is one of the best linebacker prospects in a long time. He easily considered in my eye the best defensive player in this draft. For a player to be so good, why is he being selected outside the top and in some cases outside the top 20 in recent mock drafts?


The off the field issues with him date back all the way to high school. Then issues continued while he was at Penn State. We have seen players in recent years have off the field issues arise and we have seen their draft stock fall. However, we have seen when a player has off the field issues, teams ignore the issue and they are taken higher than projected.


10 minutes before the 2016 draft was set to begin, Laremy Tunsil's Twitter account featured a picture of him wearing a gas mask while smoking a bong. Some people had him as the best overall prospect in the draft, however he fell to 13th pick. Joe Mixon had a first round grade but was projected to go in the 3rd or 4th round due to an assault charge. The Bengals took the risk and selected him in the 2nd round.


Timetable of Micah Parsons


High school: 2014-2017

In 2016, Parsons was suspended after a classmate posted a racist Instagram post and Parsons responded in a not so appropriate manner. Parson's called the classmate out in the school cafeteria about the post, and his principal suspended Parsons for "starting a riot." He received a 3 day suspension and then decided to transfer schools. I can not see why an incident from high school like this would cause his draft stock to fall. The other thing is, there never actually was a riot or physical altercation that took place.


During a recruiting trip at Ohio State, a member of the media tweeted an article noting that then head coach Urban Meyer would not be making a QB change from JT Barrett. Parsons responded on twitter saying he would make the change in favor of Dwayne Haskins. Many individuals did not like this response from him since he was still a recruit at this point. Again, nothing really harmful here, but people say this means he has huge character issues.


Penn State Lawsuit: January 2020

A physical dispute between teammates Isaiah Humphries and Micah Parsons occurred in 2018 that ended with Humphries needing to pull out a knife in order for Parsons to stop. Humphries first told Penn State investigators that a knife was involved but never told them who had it. He later told police that he actually pulled out the knife in order to get Parsons to stop assaulting him.


(Former Penn State DE Isaiah Humphries)


After transferring away from Penn State, Humphries sued Penn State for not stepping in after claims of hazing and sexual harassment. According to Fox News, Humphries was told by various coaches including Head Coach James Franklin to remain silent and to not notify police due to Parsons being the best player on the team. Another coach is reported to have told Humphries "to be ready in the classroom and the field the next day with no more drama."


A police investigation was completed and no charges were ever filed on anyone named in the lawsuit. The courts rejected Humphries complaints due to lack of merit, and when he revised his complaints, the court still rejected them a second time.


(Penn State Head Football Coach James Franklin)


The more I look into the lawsuit, the more I see a lot of holes. The lawsuit was filed in January 2020, 2 years after the alleged incident. There are four players listed as people who were involved in the hazing with Parsons and former Penn State and current Carolina Panthers LB Yetur Gross-Matos being two of them. There was zero talk of this lawsuit last year when Gross-Matos was a draft prospect, and we saw his draft stock stay the same.


However, neither of those players are listed as defendants in the suit. Former player Damion Barber is the only player listed as a defendant. The lawsuit claims events happened with these players, but they were not the culprits? If the alleged claims made by Parsons are as extreme as they are, why wouldn't his name be listed as defendant?


The allegations against Yetur Gross-Matos are in my opinion much worse than Parsons. Allegations include hazing, but also that Gross-Matos had sexually assaulted a female student athlete at Penn State. In the 2020 NFL Draft, we did not see Gross-Matos' draft stock fall at all. The NFL has become much stricter on domestic violence and sexual assualt cases, and we have not seen any punishment for Gross-Matos. If these allegations are true, why was he not listed as a defendant and why were no charges filed? Did the Panthers not do their homework on him during the draft process?


(Former Penn State DE Yetur Gross-Matos)


I keep seeing tweets and mock drafts say that the off the field issues are the reason for his drop in his draft stock. However, no one really talked about what those issues are. Here are the issues written out for you. Everyone can have their opinion on what happened or what didn't happen. There are some major question marks in the lawsuit and everything that transpired, and it is something that Micah Parsons will have to deal with during the draft process.


On the Field Micah Parsons

Lets take a look at the on the field player. This is not a full breakdown of Parsons but a quick glance at the type of player he is. Is the player on the field worth the risk of the alleged baggage that comes with it?


Strengths

Parsons is a do it all style LB. He is able to drop back in coverage and break up a pass. He is extremely quick and strong for his size, and this helps him beat run blockers. He has the ability to rush the QB and force the fumble. He really is an elite LB, who can play all 3 downs.


In this play during the Cotton Bowl, he is so quick and strong that he beats not one but two blockers to help make the tackle.



Weakness

He is easily fooled by play action plays. Many times he gets fooled on who has the ball, and when he is wrong it turns out to be a big gain for the opposing team. He is going to need to learn more discipline in those plays. When he is right in his guess, he is going to win the matchup, but when he is wrong he is very wrong. He may need to clean up his pass rushing skills, but he is not a pass rusher he is a LB.


Check this play out against Ohio State. His mistake equals a large gain for the JK Dobbins and the Buckeyes.



Final Thoughts

When you look at just the on the field player of Micah Parsons, he is worth a top 5 pick. Teams like Miami, Atlanta, and Cincinnati would be foolish to not select him. In my opinion the best defensive player in this draft, and arguably one of the best overall prospects in this draft.


The baggage that comes with him is going to be the reason he falls out of the top 5. Teams like Atlanta and Cincinnati are not going to take the risk, they will play it safe. However, teams are going to do their research on these incidents. That will include interviews with him, teammates, coaches, teachers, etc. By the end of their investigations, I am sure their findings will show he is still a top prospect in this draft.


There are some reports that he falls completely out of the first round. I do not think that is the case. He will not be a top 5 draft pick, but he can easily still stay in the top 10 to top 15. I do believe he is selected between Detroit at 7 and the Chargers at 13. I do believe Parsons is worth the risk. He is an extremely good NFL prospect that is going to have a long and solid career.



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