Micah Parsons, Jayson Oweh Flash Freaky Athleticism On Pro Day

As the 2021 NFL Draft grows closer and closer, the hype couldn’t be higher for some of Penn State football’s top prospects.

In lieu of an official NFL Scouting Combine, the Nittany Lions hosted a Pro Day for eight of their former stars. As expected, Micah Parsons and Jayson Oweh showed off their freakish athletic ability to a room full of professional scouts. Those two Nittany Lions’ abilities to put up such impressive numbers with their body types just proved their versatility on the football field.

The two defensive stars have been competing with each other since the second they stepped onto campus years ago. That all came to a head recently when Oweh and Parsons ventured out to California to train together.

“Me and Jayson, we’ve been competing since freshman year. The moment I walked in and the moment I saw he was a freak, I knew I could test him,” Parsons said. “He PRed on a lot of things, I feel like I did really well on a lot of things I knew I was going to do well on.”

Parsons admitted that Oweh had the “edge” on the day, but both players put up incredibly eye-opening numbers. Parsons ran an impressive 4.39-second 40-yard dash, while Oweh beat him with a 4.36-second time. Parsons knocked out 19 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press and Oweh managed 21. Parsons also logged a 34-inch vertical with Oweh pulling ahead with a 39.5-inch leap.

These numbers are incredibly impressive, especially for athletes of their size. Parsons comes in at 6’3″, 246-pounds, while Oweh is a whopping 6’5″ and 257 pounds. For guys of that stature, the numbers they put up are hard to come by. Nobody recognizes that more than their long-time teammate and fellow Pro Day participant Shaka Toney.

“You can’t compete with freaks of nature,” Toney said. “I’ve known Micah since he was in high school and I’ve known Jayson since he was a freshman. They’ve been doing these things.”

While Parsons and Oweh’s competition has been friendly up until this point, things might be all business come draft time. Parsons is predicted to be a top-10 selection, while many experts see Oweh going in the late first or early second rounds.

Parsons really settled into his role as a linebacker at Penn State after being swapped out of the defensive end position by James Franklin. His All-American 2019 campaign featured 109 total tackles, five pass deflections, and four forced fumbles.

With Parsons’ experience playing two positions and raw athletic prowess, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he played a position other than linebacker as a professional.

“I just feel like I’m the most versatile player in this class,” Parsons said. “I can play middle linebacker, I can play outside linebacker, and I can pass rush…I’m gonna utilize my skills, and I’m gonna make plays happen just like I did at Penn State.”

Parsons said he’s talked to basically every NFL team at this point, including representatives from the Dolphins, Steelers, and Raiders at Pro Day itself. He said through talking to these teams, he thinks he’ll end up playing linebacker professionally. However, his versatility is keeping doors open.

Just like Parsons, Oweh’s raw athletic ability gives him a leg up over other options in the draft. The defensive end started playing football midway through high school, so what he might lack in experience, he makes up for in speed and strength.

Perhaps due to this late start, Oweh never put up as incredible numbers as Parsons did at Penn State. He’s faced a lot of criticism this draft cycle for not recording a sack during the 2020 season. But those who were really watching, Oweh says, know he put on a clinic last season.

“In terms of the zero sacks thing, it’s obviously there,” Oweh said. “But if you really are a savant of the game, you really understand what’s going on. You watch the film and don’t just look at the box score, you understand that’s not even who I am, that’s not the type of player I am.”

Oweh said he thought he was “way better” in 2020 despite not putting up as impressive sack numbers. He did, however, dial in 6.5 tackles for loss in just seven games of play. He also amassed 38 total tackles in those seven games compared to 21 tackles in 2019’s 11 games.

Oweh’s athletic skill set makes him an intriguing prospect at defensive end, but his freakish talents also make him a more versatile player. After spending time with a good NFL organization, nobody would be surprised to see him blossom.

All this offseason chatter will come to a head on April 29 when the NFL Draft officially kicks off.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected].

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