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Tuesday open thread: Should the Detroit Lions draft Micah Parsons with the 7th overall pick?

Parsons may be the best defensive player in this year’s class, but he comes with plenty of questions.

Penn State v Memphis Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

It’s early in the NFL Draft process, but there are already certain favorites that are emerging amongst fans for the Detroit Lions’ first-round selection. With the seventh overall pick, the Lions can’t afford to miss out on a top-tier player, unless their strategy is to trade down and accumulate more picks.

But let’s take that option off the table for a moment. If the Lions stand pat at seven, there’s a pretty good chance at least three or four of the top quarterbacks will be off the board. And while that may be a bad thing if Detroit is trying to add their franchise passer of the future in this year’s draft, it could also mean a premier talent at a different position falls to them.

One of those potential players is Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.

By most accounts, Parsons is considered the best defensive player in this year’s draft, but he also comes with a lot of questions and concerns. In a poll during our live stream on Twitch Monday night, Lions fans were split exactly 50/50 on whether they’d want Parsons with the seventh overall pick.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Should the Lions take PSU LB Micah Parsons with the seventh overall pick?

My answer: Before I get into what I’d do, let’s go over the pros and cons.

On the plus side, Parsons undoubtedly has a ton of talent. He has the rare combination of speed and size that Jarrad Davis has, but with the ability to actually drop back into coverage (five passes defended in 2019). He’s also an extremely talented pass rusher when blitzing, making him a pure three-down linebacker that should never leave the field.

He also fills Detroit’s most pressing need on defense. The cupboard is completely empty for the Lions at linebacker and it has been for years, despite spending a first-round pick on Davis and a second-round pick on Jahlani Tavai.

But there are a handful of concerns, too. Parsons opted out of the 2020 season, meaning he’s been out of football for an entire year. Of course, he’s spent most of that time preparing for the NFL, but there’s nothing like actual game experience.

Then there’s the question of positional value. Is a linebacker—even a three-down linebacker like Parsons—truly worth a top-10 pick? He’s not a true edge rusher that will pick up 10+ sacks on a season, and while he’s capable of picking up an interception here or there, he’s not likely to be a turnover machine, either.

Finally, there are some character concerns with Parsons. His name was mentioned amongst four in a lawsuit against the university by a former player who alleges serious hazing accusations, including sexual assault. The same player alleged that he and Parsons got in a fight that involved punching, choking and a knife being pulled back in 2018. While these remain just accusations at this point, it’s serious enough to require some thorough investigation by any team thinking about drafting him.

Because of the unclear nature of Parsons’ personal conduct at Penn State, I can’t say for sure if I’d be comfortable drafting him with the seventh overall pick. Talent-wise, I think he’s got it. I’m also not that concerned about positional value, since Parsons is so clearly a three-down linebacker that can rush the passer or drop into coverage. But it’s clear this regime values character extremely highly, so Parsons will need to be vetted thoroughly before taking a big swing at him.

Your turn.

Poll

Should the Lions take Micah Parsons with the 7th overall pick?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Yes
    (1060 votes)
  • 59%
    No
    (1583 votes)
2643 votes total Vote Now