Packers.com consulted more than a dozen mock drafts from reputable national outlets and compiled a list of players most frequently mocked as draft selections in the bottom third of the first round (picks 20-32).
Between now and draft day, when the Packers are slated to select at No. 29 overall, those players will be profiled with thumbnail sketches in a new series entitled "Draft Digest."
Today's player is …
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Height/Weight: 6-3, 246
Key stats: Racked up 191 tackles (18 for a loss), 6½ sacks, five passes defensed and six forced fumbles in just 26 career games at Penn State.
College honors: Recognized as a consensus All-American as a sophomore in 2019 and a first-team All-Big Ten selection. Was also honored as the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year in the Big Ten, while being a finalist for the Butkus Award (nation's top linebacker) and semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (nation's top defensive player).
Background: A blue-chip high-school linebacker and five-star recruit, Parsons did not disappoint during his two seasons at Penn State. Despite only starting one of his 13 appearances in 2018, Parsons became the first freshman (true or redshirt) to lead the Nittany Lions in tackles in a single season (83). He was nothing short of dominant as a sophomore, recording 10 or more tackles in six of Penn State's final seven games. Parsons blossomed as both a playmaker and pass rusher, registering 14 of his 18 career tackles for loss, five of his 6½ career sacks and four of his six career forced fumbles during that 2019 campaign.
Parsons announced on Aug. 6, 2020, he was opting out of his junior season at Penn State because of COVID-19 concerns (he has a young son) and to focus on his preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft. Parsons is regarded for his speed, intelligence and toughness as an off-the-ball linebacker, but also is big enough to potentially contribute as an edge rusher on passing downs.
Potential fit with Packers: It's unlikely Parsons falls to the back half of the first round after the NFL witnessed Devin White's all-around impact last year in Tampa Bay. The Packers have a full house at outside linebacker with the Smith Bros. and former first-round pick Rashan Gary all in the fold for 2021, but could have room inside for a hybrid after the departure of veteran inside linebacker Christian Kirksey. Undrafted free agent Krys Barnes came out of nowhere to be the Packers' every-down "Mike" linebacker, while rookie fifth-round pick Kamal Martin finished the year as the "Will" in base. The Packers haven't used a first-round pick on an inside linebacker in 15 years (A.J. Hawk).