The 2021 first round may not feature too many highlight reels from the 2020 season. Another first-round prospect will opt out, with Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons announcing (Instagram link) he will not play this season.
Parsons will enter the 2021 NFL draft. He is expected to be a surefire first-round pick. The two-year Nittany Lions contributor rates as the No. 6 overall prospect on Todd McShay’s initial list. While Joe Burrow illustrated how much draft stocks can change in a season, Parsons appears a safe bet to be selected in next year’s first round.
Despite working as an off-ball ‘backer, Parsons registered 14 tackles for loss and five sacks as a sophomore last season. The 245-pound defender also forced four fumbles in his second college campaign.
A previous trend saw first-round-caliber players choosing not to play in bowl games. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the equation and forced players to factor in draft-stock damage ahead of their final college seasons.
The list of opt-outs so far: Parsons, Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley, Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman and Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau. There will almost certainly be more players who choose to bypass the coronavirus-altered 2020 season to prepare for the draft.
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