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Penn State's Micah Parsons betting favorite to be top defensive player drafted in 2021

CHRIS ADAMSKI
(Greensburg) Tribune-Review (TNS)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 28: Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates after a sack during the Cotton Bowl Classic college football game against the Memphis Tigers on December 28, 2019 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Micah Parsons

Penn State’s Micah Parsons is projected to be one of the top linebackers in college football this coming season as a junior.

He also has become a sportsbook favorite to be highly coveted in next spring’s NFL draft.

Parsons had the best betting odds of any defensive player to go No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, according to BetOnline.ag. BetOnline listed Parsons 25-1 to be the top pick. Ahead of him were Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (1-3), Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell (4-1), Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (5-1) and Miami quarterback D’Eriq King (20-1). Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell is tied with Parsons at 25-1.

The only other defensive player listed among the top 12 or with odds of better than 40-1 is Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau (30-1).

The most recent time a defensive player went No. 1 overall was 2017 when the Cleveland Browns took end Myles Garrett. He is the only top pick on defense since 2006.

Last year, defensive end Chase Young went No. 2 to the Washington Redskins. Quarterbacks have gone with the top pick during six of the past seven and 10 of the past 12 drafts. Lawrence has been regarded as the 2021 top pick since he led Clemson to the national championship as a freshman during the 2018 season.

Parsons would have to declare to come out a year early for the 2021 draft but is expected to do so. The native of Harrisburg was one of the country’s most highly recruited high school players three years ago. Parsons was named consensus All-American last season, when he had 109 tackles (52 solo, 14 for loss) and shined during a Cotton Bowl win against Memphis (14 tackles, three for loss, two sacks).

The BetOnline top 16 odds to be the 2021 No. 1 overall pick:

Trevor Lawrence 1-3

Penei Sewell 4-1

Justin Fields 5-1

D’Eriq King 20-1

Kenneth Gainwell 25-1

Micah Parsons 25-1

Abraham Lucas 30-1

Alex Latherwood 30-1

Gregory Rousseau 30-1

Jackson Carman 30-1

Jamie Newman 30-1

Walker Little 33-1

Ja’Marr Chase 40-1

Patrick Surtain II 40-1

Shaun Wade 40-1

Travis Etienne 40-1