Micah Parsons NFL Draft 2021: Scouting Report for Dallas Cowboys LB

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor IApril 30, 2021

Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons (11) during an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Barry Reeger/Associated Press

 6'3 "



—One of the most secure tacklers in recent memory.

—He expertly understands boot, rollout and pursuit rules within the structure of a defense.

—As a backside linebacker on run plays, he does a good job of "tempoing" the back and not over or under playing the cutback lane.

—He is able to beat offensive linemen with vertical speed and is quick to get linear in the backfield.

—A good spy when the pass rush does not get home, a trait that should translate as a middle-of-the-field option against scrambling NFL quarterbacks.

—He has a strong enough upper body to where he can backdoor blocks with strength instead of pure speed.


—For a high-end linebacker prospect, he does not have the sideline-to-sideline speed one would expect in today's defensive structure. He is much faster vertically than he is horizontally.

—He is better at reading backfield action than uncovered linemen, resulting in him fitting the run outside of where he was designed to fill.

—As a pass-rusher, he is involved but not very developed. He plays on the line of scrimmage often but has to rely on moves like outside spins in those situations.

—In coverage, Parsons can be up and down on a play-to-play basis.


Did not play in 2020


Parsons was named in a federal lawsuit in which a former Penn State player said he was sexually hazed while at the program.

—As a prep, Parsons was a highly decorated recruit after playing defensive end and running back. He also played basketball.

—Parsons originally committed to Penn State during his sophomore year but then opened his recruitment. In December of his senior season of high school football, Ohio State could no longer recruit Parsons after a recruiting violation, and he committed to Penn State.


A decorated college player who was an All-American before opting out of the 2020 season, Micah Parsons is a well-rounded linebacker who can play both on and off the line of scrimmage as a secure tackler, but he lacks the horizontal speed to match his vertical speed. In many ways, he is in the mold of Dont'a Hightower, an inside linebacker who has played edge-defender reps in New England, or Anthony Barr, another running back turned edge-defender turned off-ball linebacker. While he played most of his snaps at Penn State as an outside linebacker, his skill set will likely lead him to playing an inside linebacker or "Mike" linebacker role at the next level because of his downhill ability outweighing his sideline-to-sideline ability.

GRADE: 8.3/10 (Round 1)

PRO COMPARISON: Dont'a Hightower


Written by B/R NFL Scout Justis Mosqueda