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LB Micah Parsons Blows Away Broncos, NFL Scouts at Penn State Pro Day With 4.39-Speed

The Broncos got an up-close look at the top-ranked linebacker in the 2021 NFL draft at Penn State's Pro Day on Thursday. George Paton was there to see it all in-person.

Denver Broncos' GM George Paton’s tour of collegiate Pro Days took him past Penn State on Thursday where linebacker Micah Parsons showcased his skills for NFL teams. 

Parsons blew the doors down, posting a 40-yard dash time that might have caused the attending GMs and scouts to wonder if the gun was busted. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound linebacker ran an astounding 4.39-second 40, and also posted a 34-inch vertical jump.

Parsons was also quick with a soundbite when he talked up his own on-field abilities to the media afterward.

“I just feel like I’m the most versatile player in this class,” Parsons said. “So I can play middle linebacker, I can play outside and I can pass rush. I don’t think there’s a place I can’t play.”

The Penn State standout is a potential option for the Broncos at pick No. 9 but Parsons is not an open-and-shut, no-brainer option because of some worrying character concerns from his past. In a classic game of 'risk and reward', Paton will have to do his due diligence on the talented linebacker before passing judgment.

Those off-the-field concerns?

Here's what, a Sports Illustrated channel, reports. 

Parsons' name appeared in a 2020 hazing lawsuit that a former Penn State player filed against the university and coach James Franklin. No charges were filed, and Parsons was not named as a defendant in the civil suit.

Parsons was among a group of players that allegedly hazed former Penn State player Isaiah Humphries, according to the lawsuit. Parsons did not address the suit specifically but did say that "obviously people have concerns about things that came up."

“At the end of the day, I believe that I was a kid,” Parsons said via “I was 17-18. We all made mistakes when we were 17-18. I’m not going to let it control or dictate the person I am now.”

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If Paton is buying into the notion that Parsons has grown and matured, he will have to bank on his own judgment of the man inside the helmet. Parsons also hasn't played football since 2019 after opting out of this past college football season. 

Furnishing head coach Vic Fangio with a do-it-all linebacker might indeed be a luxury but in the top-10 of the draft, it would come with inherent risk. 

However, it would undoubtedly add another weapon to an already explosive Denver defense. With Von Miller, Justin Simmons, Shelby Harris, and Kareem Jackson all back in the Orange and Blue, as well as cornerback mercenaries Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby acquired via free agency, the Broncos defense is teeming with menace. 

One on-paper component missing from Fangio's 2021 arsenal is that sideline-to-sideline linebacker who can finally provide the Broncos with some true coverage chops. Fangio needs his Roquan Smith or NaVorro Bowman and Parsons could be it. Just remember the downside risk. 

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