Flyover Breakdowns: Is Micah Parsons the next Luke Kuechly?
Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons is one of the most physically imposing players in the 2021 NFL Draft. After the Eagles traded back from six to 12, Parsons seems to be more in the realm of possibility for Philadelphia than we initially thought. When looking at Parsons, he draws many striking parallels to former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Luechly. Kuechly was one of the NFL’s best linebackers over the last 20 years before concussions ended his career. In this Flyover Breakdown, we will take a look at just how similar these two players are.
Physically, Parsons and Kuechly are almost identical. Take a look at how the two’s measurables stack up against one another:
The fact that Parsons is the same size and even faster is frightening for any opposing player. Parsons’ 40 time is not official; even if they are lasered or hand-timed, these non-NFL Combine times are usually slightly faster. With that in mind, Parsons likely runs around a 4.47 40 time.
That speed is on display several times a game, especially in his pursuit. One of the most appealing traits Parsons has is his hustle. Micah can run sideline to sideline, staying in perfect position against any running back or wide receiver, and finishes it off tackling with ideal form.
Parsons’ hustle and sideline to sideline athleticism is on par with what Kuechly used to do. If you watch the video above, you can see numerous instances of both tracking down the runner and making the play in the open field.
Even before Penn State, Parsons speed was on display in the backfield for Harrisburgh High School. Micah put up a ridiculous 1,200 yards with 27 touchdowns on 11.4 yards per carry during his senior year. Keep in mind this was over just a 12 game period. These dominant physical traits carried over to the other side of the football.
During his time at Penn State, Parsons had over 190 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and six forced fumbles. A freshman/sophomore to be putting up these stats is ridiculous and makes you think of how dominant Micah would’ve been if he didn’t opt out of the 2020 season.
Alongside athleticism, linebackers need to have a high level of football I.Q. to command a defense. Linebackers need to call out schemes on the fly, read formations, and make the right reads after the snap. There is no doubt that Parsons can command a defense and make those right reads. On numerous occasions, he has shown to make the correct decisions like following a pulling guard, and determining a high-hat/low-hat by the tackle, indicating if it is a run or pass play.
Without a doubt, Micah Parsons is a tremendous prospect and very well the best defensive player in the 2021 Draft. If everything goes as expected, I do not doubt that he can be one of the best linebackers in the NFL in just a few years. The mixture of size, athleticism, and intelligence is a dangerous trio and a recipe for success for any NFL linebacker.
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