Mel Kiper of ESPN has the Denver Broncos selecting Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons in the 2021 NFL Draft in his latest mock draft.
It’s mock draft season and one we always try to pay attention is ESPN’s Mel Kiper. It was a quarterback crazy first round with the first four picks all being quarterbacks, but one team that avoided that craze was the Denver Broncos in this mock. Instead, they traded back with the Minnesota Vikings to pick up another defensive player after a defensive-heavy free agency.
14. Denver Broncos (via mock trade with MIN)
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Denver moves down five spots in my projected trade and still gets the best off-ball linebacker in this class, a defender with the flexibility to play every linebacker spot. He could also put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer. Parsons opted out of the 2020 season, and I’m excited to see how he tests at his pro day on March 25. There’s a wide range on where Parsons could go, but his athletic testing numbers could make him a top-15 lock. I had thought this team would target a corner at No. 9, and that could still be an option with Kyle Fuller getting only a one-year deal in free agency.
Notable free-agent additions: CB Kyle Fuller, CB Ronald Darby, RB Mike Boone
Notable free-agent losses: RB Phillip Lindsay, DT Jurrell Casey
Micah Parsons has tremendous talent, but there are some controversies surrounding him during his time at Penn State. That could give some teams pause early in the first round, but if Denver is looking for a massively talented every down linebacker, Parsons fits the bill.
Personally, as I noted in the Something Something Broncos podcast I included above, this team is built to win now and the only position that needs an upgrade is quarterback. Will a rookie quarterback be an upgrade over Drew Lock? Maybe, maybe not. I think if they get production out of a rookie like the Los Angeles Chargers got out of Justin Herbert, then this team could go from worst to first in the AFC West.