Updated April 7, 2021
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
For the entire leadup to the 2021 NFL Draft, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons has been the presumed top rated linebacker and an expected high pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. This spring, however, some teams have soured on Parsons because of his disappointing tape and concerns about his character. Multiple team sources have said their teams have Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis graded higher than Parsons and they would not be shocked if Davis is the first linebacker drafted.
"Parsons has traits, but I was disappointed when I watched the tape," said an AFC director of player personnel. "I thought I was going to see a Devin White-caliber player; [Parsons] definitely is not. I really like Davis. I wouldn't be shocked if he goes in the first round, maybe even top 20."
Parsons created a lot of media buzz with his great pro-day workout, but that was expected because he was a known workout warrior with an excellent combination of size, speed, explosion and athleticism. Davis came through with an amazing pro day of his own, and some team sources whose teams are picking high in the second round think Davis won't get to their picks. In the 40-yard dash, Davis put up shocking times, with unofficial marks of 4.41 and 4.37 seconds. Those would be superb times for a wide receiver, but for a linebacker, they are incredible. Davis also illustrated his explosion with a 42-inch vertical leap and an 11-foot broad jump. The 6-foot-3, 234-pound Davis also produced an impressive 2020 season of tape that has caused him to steadily rise.
It only takes one team to fall in love, and both of these linebackers have great skill sets. Parsons could still be the first linebacker drafted, but some teams think Davis is the better player and would prefer to draft him.