The honors have already been rolling in for Dallas Cowboys rookie Micah Parsons, who was just selected for the Pro Bowl and named Defensive Rookie of the Month for the second time. Now the presumptive defensive Rookie of the Year and strong contender for Defensive Player of the Year can added another, and he is not alone. Osa Odighizuwa joins Parsons on Gil Brandt’s 2021 Defensive All-Rookie Team.
This is a testament to the quality of this year’s draft for Dallas. There are only 12 rookies who made the list (one extra include a third cornerback in nickel defenses while not taking a linebacker off the list), and two of the 12 are Cowboys players
Here is what Brandt wrote about the two members of his list.
Injuries to Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore paved Odighizuwa’s path to a starting job that he’s kept all year. He ranks just behind (Christian) Barmore among rookie DTs in QB pressures (26), stops (21) and tackles (31), per NGS.
The No. 12 overall pick isn’t just having one of the best rookie defensive seasons in recent memory; it would also count as an all-time campaign for any player of any experience level. In fact, only seven other players in NFL history have accumulated 13-plus sacks, 75-plus tackles, three-plus passes defensed and three-plus forced fumbles in the same season, like Parsons has, per Pro Football Reference. Talent-wise, he compares to legendary defensive force Lawrence Taylor. In other words, Parsons is really special. His Pro Bowl berth is likely to be just the first honor at the beginning of what could become a Hall of Fame career down the road.
More than just an individual honor for the two players that are contributing to a vastly improved Cowboys defense, this bodes well for the future. Second-year players Trevon Diggs and Neville Gallimore also help provide a strong core of youth on defense, while Kelvin Joseph looked very promising in his first start since coming off injured reserve.
With nervousness about the potential departure of Dan Quinn to take one of the head coach openings this year, fans can at least take comfort in knowing that there will be plenty of talent to work with for years to come if that should happen. Odighizuwa may not have the ceiling that Parsons has (who else does?), but he may well see some Pro Bowls in his future. It is also notable that the past two drafts represent a drastic change from years of difficulty in drafting top-notch defensive players.
Both rookies are off to great starts in their careers.