New York Jets 2021 Draft Targets: Micah Parsons

Micah Parsons

Despite the enjoyment of August baseball, it’s never too soon to talk about the next NFL Draft. The New York Jets will certainly need to prep for this upcoming draft, as they’ll now have two first-round selections following the Jamal Adams trade. Judging by the state of the league, it also stands as a very real possibility that the Jets are drafting near the top of the order. So, I wanted to begin highlighting a couple of targets for the Jets in the 2021 draft.

Who is Micah Parsons?

Micah Parsons has been a member of the Penn State Nittany Lions since 2018. From Harrisburg High School, Parsons was a highly-touted athlete in his recruiting class. As he’s transitioned over the past two seasons to college football, he found his niche as a new age linebacker. Similar to Isaiah Simmons in last year’s class, Micah can do it all.

He’s a tackling machine, a threat in the box, and brings solid coverage abilities to the table. Personally, I firmly believed that with a strong season in 2020-21 he could have been a candidate as a top 5 pick. Instead, Micah chose to opt-out for the greater good of his child and the rest of his family. So, Micah will now turn his attentions to training for the NFL Draft, where he will still be picked early with solid combine and pro day showings.

Just How Good Is Micah?

Micah has been an absolute beast since showing up to University Park. In his freshman year, Micah put up pretty solid numbers with 82 tackles, 4.0 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, and 2 Forced Fumbles. Micah’s biggest gain from that season was his experience on the field and the knowledge he gained on how to develop further as a linebacker who can do it all. Then, last season, he EXPLODED.

Micah had 109 tackles, 14 TFLs, 5 sacks, 4 Forced Fumbles, and 2 Fumble Recoveries. He finished 3rd in the Big Ten in tackles, 6th in Solo tackles, 2nd in assists and 10th in TFLs. He was highly regarded, but his performance in the Cotton Bowl launched him to superstardom. Parsons ended up with a stat line of 14 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 3 TFLs, and 2 forced fumbles. Parsons blew the college football world away and has already solidified himself as a future star in the NFL.

How Micah Could Fit With The Jets

Micah Parsons is the kind of player who could be the captain of the defense for the next 15 years. As a linebacker hybrid, he would add a similar value to what Jamal Adams brought to the team. Micah would be a building block as a leader for the long term. It would also make the possibility of moving C.J. Mosley a lot more feasible. The Jets would be able to free a load of cap and have a future leader with the Parsons move.

Obviously, a lot of things would need to fall the right way for Micah to be wearing the Green and White, but hypothetically, he could make sense in the organization. My only worry with any future defensive piece is he may overplay his contract worth, and the team may continue to flounder, and the Jets would have another Jamal situation on their hands.

Penn State Gets New ST Coordinator and QB, Planned Facility Upgrade

It’s a decent week to be a fan of the Penn State Nittany Lions. There’s been a flurry of news this week around the team, even though it’s still the offseason and no actual team activities have started just yet, and that news ranges from recruiting updates to news about one of the team’s main facilities. Perhaps the most notable recent news, though, is that the team has filled one of the main vacancies on their staff going into next season.

Special Teams Coordinator Phil Galiano made the move to the NFL and joined the New Orleans Saints staff as an assistant, leaving Penn State with an opening at the position. That opening has been filled by Joe Lorig, who previously coached at Memphis and had the same position before moving to Texas Tech and then moving up to Penn State before settling into the new job.

With Memphis not giving up a special teams touchdown under Lorig during his few years with the program, it seems like Penn State is getting a good addition to fill out their staff.

Another noteworthy piece of news is that the team has a new quarterback joining their 2020 class. Micah Bowens, who plays for well-known high school program Bishop Gorman, committed on Tuesday. Bowens is ranked as the 4th best recruit in Nevada and the 23rd best dual threat quarterback in the class overall, and also has offers from Arizona and BYU.

Bowens has showed off his skills on the ground plenty so far in high school, and this looks like a continuation of the trend of Penn State recruiting mobile quarterbacks.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the team’s main training facility, the Lasch Building, is scheduled for renovations worth $1.5M after a large donation from alum John Leone, who recently gave $6.5M to the school in total. Of course, the building has been renovated before in the past, but in a conference like the Big Ten, it never hurts to do more and keep up with high quality competition such as Ohio State and Michigan.

Penn State Football: Don’t Rule Out James Franklin To USC Just Yet

James Franklin is in an interesting position right now as the head coach of the Penn State football team. On one hand, his role in bringing Penn State back to national relevance has brought him many fans in Happy Valley, who have defended the coach even after major collapses against Ohio State in back to back years, and even for the team’s underperformance this year with a roster that should have been good enough to compete for the playoffs.

But ask different sections of the fanbase what they think and you might get a different answer. While one comments section might defend Franklin vehemently, another one might call for Franklin to be replaced to help the Nittany Lions reach their true ceiling. While third in the Big Ten with three conference losses at this point in the season may have been a good result in past years, it’s particularly disappointing for a team that many, including ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, thought would be in the race for both the Big Ten and the College Football Playoff.

But Franklin may have a chance to leave the controversy behind and head out west for a new job, one that would place him in an easier division and conference than the very difficult Big Ten East. The difficulty of that division may be the reason why Franklin doesn’t have a playoff appearance yet at Penn State, and the PAC-12 South is much more winnable. The interested team, of course, may be USC. Located in Los Angeles, they also are in a better position to recruit from California, one of the most important states to draw talent from for blue blood programs.

That’s not to say that it would be an immediate improvement. USC hasn’t met expectations during recent years, but they hit a new low this season by falling apart completely. Unless they can upset #3 Notre Dame in their closing game, they won’t even make it to a bowl game. Still, even though it will hurt Penn State fans to hear this, USC is considered by more people to be a larger program and it’s certainly a tempting offer for anyone, especially a coach coming off what will inevitably be a disappointing season.

Franklin, though, claims that he isn’t going anywhere. “Obviously [I] have all the plans in the world to be here, and be here for a long time. So I just wanted to address that because it became something that I did not want it to be or intend to be. I wanted to put that statement out there, and then obviously I would love to talk about Maryland and our practice today,” he said on Wednesday.

But realistically, what head coach would admit that they’re looking at other jobs, before their regular season ends and their team plays in a bowl game? Such a thing would be a morale killer, and it just doesn’t happen. And while Franklin isn’t in danger of being fired right now, it’s hard to deny that USC would be a step up and that few coaches who would be offered the job now will have the chance to make a move to Southern Cal later in their careers.

The fact of the matter is that USC would be a decent fit for Franklin and that it’s a very tempting job for almost any coach. Will a move definitely be made? No. But is it out of the realm of possibility yet just because Franklin has made a public statement favoring Penn State? Not at all.

It’s not the first time that a similar situation has happened, after all. Just take a look at the words of former Vanderbilt player Adam Butler, from back in 2014.

“He repeatedly told us, ‘I’m not leaving, no matter what. You guys don’t have to worry,’ he even took it as far as breaking down in tears like he always does. He was saying ‘I’m not leaving,’ and then right after the ball game, I mean no warning, no nothing, he just disappeared. He came back and said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m leaving’ and cried again.”

Penn State: The Season Is Already Over For The Nittany Lions

This isn’t what the more optimistic fans will want to hear, but the season is effectively over for Penn State. Not that there aren’t more games to play, but they just don’t mean the same thing that they meant before the Nittany Lions went down to Michigan State on Saturday. You can tell yourself that Penn State is historically just below the blue bloods in terms of accomplishments, and that finishing the year with a couple of losses and a bowl win would be satisfying.

But deep down, not many people truly believe that. There’s a reason why Penn State fans wanted revenge against Ohio State this year, after all. Not just because of the way the game ended last year, but because of the effects of that game. Penn State had been on the brink of making it into the College Football Playoff, and losing to Ohio State effectively eliminated them from the running.

Why was the result so disappointing? Because that team had enough talent to make the Playoff, and they underperformed. It’s the same story with this year’s team, which also lost to Ohio State and now Michigan State… The same two teams that Penn State suffered losses to in 2017. But this year’s Michigan State loss isn’t the same as the one last time.

The team scored less, failing to even put up 20 points, and allowed MSU quarterback Brian Lewerke to bully the defense for 259 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Those are better numbers than Trace McSorley’s 192 yards, and despite putting his all into his performance, the PSU signal caller couldn’t bail the team out again with late game heroics. Not with this playcalling on offense.

You can pretend that it’s business as usual, but the fact is, this isn’t a normal loss and this isn’t the kind of loss that should be expected and excused. The losses against Ohio State in back to back years were bad, but it’s easier to justify those. Ohio State is one of the top teams in the country every year, and many favored them going into those games. You could argue that Penn State holding leads in both games was a fluke, and that the better team won, as expected.

But Michigan State? They’re unranked right now. They already had two losses coming into this game. Not only that, but it was in front of a packed home stadium and it was on Homecoming. Not exactly the best circumstances to drop a game. Some will say that every team loses games. That’s true. But championship teams don’t lose games like these.

Penn State doesn’t need to be Alabama, and finish the season as the number one undefeated team. But they do need to stop dropping games like the Michigan State one this year or even last year, if they ever want to make the Playoff. Some Penn State fans fall into the trap of thinking that the team has to be above average, and not elite.

The truth is, the potential is there to do better. Penn State has shown over the past years that they can play with anybody, after all. If one or two drives had gone differently, they could be undefeated right now. Something needs to change, to unlock that potential.

It’s starting to look like James Franklin’s most successful years were less about him and more about the generational talent coming out of his backfield, Saquon Barkley. And about offensive coordinator Joe Moorehead, who is now in Starkville. It’s time for Franklin to move on from his assistant coaches, because if that doesn’t happen soon, it will be hard to not place the blame on him rather than the rest of his staff.

Of course, Franklin has some benefit of the doubt after playing a big part in bringing Penn State football back to relevance. But it’s becoming increasingly clearer where his ceiling is. Franklin needs to do something to change this perception, that the team will pick up two losses every year under him no matter what the expectations going into the season are. More changes on the staff isn’t what the team really needs, but the play on the field isn’t leaving many option.

Or no changes can happen, and Penn State can become another Auburn. A team that can sometimes play with the top ones in the country, but also one that frequently under-performs based on what the expectations entering the season are. Whatever the case, it looks like this season is going to be a crucial turning point to determine which of those routes the team takes.