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Where Do Nittany Lions Fall In Way-Too-Early 2021 NFL Mock Drafts?

Fourteen Nittany Lions had their professional football dreams come true this weekend when they were drafted by or signed with NFL teams this weekend. And even though this year’s draft just concluded, it’s never too early to start predicting what will happen next year.

Micah Parsons and Pat Freiermuth are Penn State’s best bets to be drafted next spring after becoming the Nittany Lions’ star linebacker and tight end throughout the past few years.

Without further ado, here’s a way-too-early look at where these Nittany Lions fall in the “experts'” early 2021 mock drafts.

Matt Miller (Bleacher Report)

Matt Miller’s first 2021 mock draft has the Green Bay Packers selecting Parsons at No. 22 overall. Like most of us, Miller sees a lot of upside when he watches Parsons on the field.

“Micah Parsons is a rock-solid linebacker with the athleticism to play any of the 4-3 alignments and the speed to show up as a dynamic three-down playmaker,” Miller said. “Parsons is a top-15 player with the athletic upside to become a top-10 pick.”

If this panned out, Parsons would be the first Nittany Lion linebacker drafted in the first round since Tamba Hali went No. 20 overall in 2006.

Miller has Freiermuth selected later by the Dallas Cowboys at No. 28 overall. Freiermuth would join a talented Cowboys offense featuring Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Ezekiel Elliott. Miller believes that if the big tight end declared for the draft this year, he may have been the first tight end selected.

“Had Freiermuth entered the 2020 draft class, teams would have seriously considered selecting him over Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet, who was the first tight end off the board,” Miller stated. “His 2020 season could push Freiermuth into a lock as a first-rounder.”    

Neal Driscoll (Pro Football Network)

Neal Driscoll is much higher on the Nittany Lions than Miller seems to be. He’s got both Parsons and Freiermuth being selected in the top 10 in his 2021 mock draft. He has the star linebacker selected by the Las Vegas Raiders at No. 10 overall.

When Parsons is on the field, he is all over the place making play after play. Driscoll describes him perfectly, adding, “Micah Parsons plays like his hair is on fire, as he makes plays all over the field.”

If this happened, Parsons would become the first defensive player from Penn State to go in the top 10 since LaVar Arrington went No. 2 overall in 2000.

Driscoll sees the Arizona Cardinals selecting Freiermuth at No. 9 overall. No. 9 overall is the same pick used to draft the last first-round Penn State tight end, Kyle Brady. Freiermuth would add to an offense full of playmakers led by star wideout DeAndre Hopkins.

“Landing a game-changing tight end, who possesses big-time red-zone ability, will make this offense even more dangerous,” Driscoll explained.

Trevor Sikkema (The Draft Network)

Trevor Sikkema believes Parsons will be selected by the Detroit Lions at No. 7 overall in his way-too-early 2021 mock draft. The 2019 consensus All-American simply does it all at linebacker, according to Sikkema.

“Micah Parsons is quite the athlete at the linebacker position, Sikkema said. “He’s rumored to run a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, didn’t allow a single touchdown in coverage and had a 94.8 grade in run defense, per PFF.”

Sikkema pins Freiermuth at No. 23 overall to the Buffalo Bills. Freiermuth would be a big target for quarterback Josh Allen to have as he continues to develop his game. Sikkema sees lots of potential when he watches Freiermuth.

“Freiermuth had over 500 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore in 2019,” Sikkema said. “He’s a big-bodied tight end who has the potential to do it all.”

Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports)

Ryan Wilson believes Parsons will go No. 9 overall to the Atlanta Falcons in his 2021 mock draft. The 6’3″, 244-pound linebacker would add some much-needed talent to a Falcons defense that was one of the NFL’s worst in 2019. Wilson believes Parsons has a chance to be “special.”

While it’s too early to make any bold predictions, early indications say Parsons has a good chance to be a top-10 pick if he can improve even more this fall. He would be the first Nittany Lion taken in the top 10 since the New York Giants took Saquon Barkley at No. 2 overall in 2018.

Wilson has Freiermuth being selected by the Los Angeles Chargers with the No. 19 overall pick. Like Miller, Wilson agrees Freiermuth could have very been the first tight end off the board if he declared for the 2020 NFL Draft.

“Freiermuth may have been the top TE in the ’20 draft class, but he returned to Penn State for one more season,” Wilson said.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a junior majoring in journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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