Ja’Marr Chase and Micah Parsons: 2021’s most forgotten NFL Draft Prospects

Every year, the NFL Draft offers all 32 teams a chance at finding the next great rookie. Whether looking for a passer, receiver, or pass-rusher, teams are always looking at finding the next great one.

In this year’s NFL Draft, two top players, LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and Penn State’s Micah Parsons, have become lost in an onslaught of teams needing quarterbacks and have seen their draft stocks fall.

Chase and Parsons came into 2020 as locks for the first-round. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the sports landscape, both players did not play and prepared for the NFL Draft instead. Both studs ended their college careers without leaving a final impression on interested teams. Other players took advantage of 2020 to challenge and maybe even surpass them. Nevertheless, Chase and Parsons should never be forgotten for their tape and impressive college careers.

For Chase, his LSU career offered the chance to leave his mark on the SEC, following in the footsteps of other great LSU receivers such as Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry, and former teammate Justin Jefferson.

In 2018, Chase caught 23 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns. A six-reception, 93-yard Fiesta Bowl performance offered LSU fans a glimpse into what would be a historic 2019 campaign.

In 2019, Chase won the Biletnikoff Award with 84 receptions for 1,780 yards, and a then SEC-record 20 touchdowns for the national champions. Instead of playing his junior season, Chase opted out of 2020 and prepared for the NFL Draft.

Coming into his pro day, everyone wondered if he lost any speed or athleticism. His pro day answered the question the NFL world was asking, which is how he would be after a year without any games. A 4.38 40-yard dash and 41-inch vertical leap showed the raw speed and leaping ability he displayed in his last season in Baton Rouge. Chase will face competition though from plenty of teams looking to find the next great receiver with Florida’s Kyle Pitts and Alabama’s dynamic receiver pair.

When Micah Parsons walked onto the Penn State campus, many fans were hoping he would join the ‘Linebacker U’ club in Happy Valley. He showed plenty of potential as a pass-rusher and tackling linebacker, so that route was definitely in the cards.

In 2018, Parsons racked up 82 tackles and 1.5 sacks. In 2019, Parsons improved to 109 tackles and five sacks. Parsons ended his college career with a 14-tackle performance against Memphis in the 2019 Cotton Bowl.

Like Chase though, Parsons opted out of his final season at Penn State. While Parsons still remained an interesting draft prospect, some scouts wondered if his speed would take a hit without playing in any games. However, Parsons’ 4.39 40-yard dash showed plenty of speed and potential as perhaps 2021’s best defensive prospect. Parsons will offer versatility and speed at whatever position he plays in the NFL.

Despite quarterbacks garnering plenty of attention from the recent trades, Chase and Parsons should provide their new teams with ample upside and a big future. If teams forget about either prospect, they’ll regret not taking these young studs.

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