With the 2020 NFL Draft now fully behind us, it's time to focus attention ahead. Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what exactly is "ahead" is rather unsure at this time. As a result, the way-too-early 2021 NFL mock drafts are coming in faster and more bountiful than ever, giving us fans a good look at where the experts are predicting some of our Nittany Lions to be picked a year from now.
Micah Parsons - No. 12 Overall (Dallas Cowboys)
Jerry Jones has the makings of another Top 5 offense, but the defense is full of holes. Parsons will be talked about in the same breath as Isaiah Simmons, who went eighth in 2020 to the Cardinals.
Pat Freiermuth - No. 9 Overall (Arizona Cardinals)
The Arizona Cardinals are building something special. Kyler Murray is the real deal and now has DeAndre Hopkins as a target. Landing a game-changing tight end, who possesses big-time red-zone ability, will make this offense even more dangerous.
Micah Parsons - No. 10 Overall (Las Vegas Raiders)
Micah Parsons plays like his hair is on fire, as he makes plays all over the field. Raiders’ General Manager Mike Mayock will fall in love with Parsons, who could enhance the team’s linebacker group.
Micah Parsons - No. 22 Overall (Green Bay Packers)
Another NFL draft and another year the Green Bay Packers pass on receivers. No, we're not joking. The position is a need, but the Packers seem intent on finding playmakers through another route.
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. Parsons is a top-15 player with the athletic upside to become a top-10 pick.
Pat Freiermuth - No. 28 Overall (Dallas Cowboys)
While definitely not the biggest need, we saw in the 2020 draft that the Dallas Cowboys want to surround Dak Prescott with talented weapons. Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth is well worth the price of selecting him in the late first round.
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. A solid 2020 season could push Freiermuth into a lock as a first-rounder.
Micah Parsons - No. 6 Overall (New York Giants)
Micah Parsons looks like he’s primed to be the best defensive player in college football next season. The last time we saw Parsons, he was absolutely dominant in the Cotton Bowl to the tune of 14 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and two pass breakups. A first-team All-American in 2019, the former five-star is primed to explode. He’s highly athletic, plays with an attitude and doubles as one of the better pass rushers in the class. Former Penn State defensive line coach Sean Spencer is now on staff for the Giants, so there’s familiarity with both sides as Spencer helped recruit Parsons to State College. Parsons would give New York general manager David Gettleman a coveted enforcer on defense.
Pat Freiermuth - No. 22 Overall (Indianapolis Colts)
The Colts will obviously have the quarterback question looming. Indianapolis is unlikely to have a high pick if things go as they hope during the Philip Rivers era. But the Colts did take Jacob Eason in the fourth round and could wait to see how he looks before opting to use a first-rounder at the position. Freiermuth seems like a natural fit for Indianapolis, who will be looking for a replacement for an aging Jack Doyle. The Nittany Lion pass catcher could’ve come out for the 2020 draft and would’ve been among the first tight ends selected. He’s a big, physical target in the pass game with 15 touchdowns in his first two seasons in State College.
Micah Parsons - No. 9 Overall (Atlanta Falcons)
The Falcons took Fresno State's Mykal Walker in the fourth round of the 2020 draft but Parsons has a chance to be special -- and Atlanta's defense still has plenty of room for improvement.
Pat Freiermuth - No. 19 Overall (Los Angeles Chargers)
Freiermuth may have been the top TE in the '20 draft class, but he returned to Penn State for one more season. With Hunter Henry playing on the franchise tag, he could be Justin Herbert's new favorite weapon.
With Parsons and Freiermuth leading the way, it looks like it's going to be a huge year for Penn State in the 2021 Draft with as many as 14 legitimate NFL prospects set to potentially be chosen next April.