The worst-case scenario played out for the Dallas Cowboys and the first round when they saw both Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II go off the board with back-to-back picks to the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. So what do they do? Trade down two spots with the Philadelphia Eagles and pick up an extra Top 100 draft pick (84th overall).
With the 12th pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft the Dallas Cowboys select… Micah Parsons, Linebacker, Penn State.
Dane Brugler’s thoughts on Micah Parsons…
A one-year starter at Penn State, Parsons lined up as a weak side linebacker in defensive coordinator Brent Pry’s 4-3 base scheme. As a defensive end in high school, he changed positions when he arrived in State College, which makes his production and film that much more impressive (Franklin: “The scary part about him is he has an even scratch the surface.”) Parsons is an excellent ball hunter because of his vision and agility near the line of scrimmage, also displaying exceptional sideline range. He needs to improve his maturity (on and off the field), spacing and anticipation in coverage, but the athleticism and budding awareness are there. Overall, Parsons is an impressive size/speed/strength athlete with the reaction movement and combative mentality to develop into a cornerstone defender and three-down linebacker for a NFL team. He projects as one of the best talents in the draft.
12. Dallas Cowboys: B
Micah Parsons is no doubt a phenomenal athlete, but in regards to positional value and providing immediate help, it’s difficult to justify a higher draft grade for the Dallas Cowboys decision to draft the Penn State LB then a solid “B”.
Dan Quinn and his coaching staff now have to figure out where Micah Parsons fits in the 2021 plans. With Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Keanu Neal in the fold. there will be a competition for snaps left in 2021.
Micah Parsons is expected to be the Cowboys' Mike linebacker for years to come. Could mean Jaylon Smith at Sam and Leighton Vander Esch at Will in 2021. LB convert Keanu Neal may be busy at safety for Dallas after all.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) April 30, 2021
Having said that though, Micah Parsons is still a really solid selection for the Dallas Cowboys. This is the team making the best of a bad situation. They were able to trade down two spots and pick up an extra third-round draft pick for a player they probably would’ve selected with the 10th overall pick once the two corners were gone.
Overall, it’s hard to fault the Cowboys too much for trying to solidify the linebacker position for not only this year, but for years to come. Only time will tell what kind of player Micah Parsons will develop into. He could very well be the next great Penn State LB to have a long successful career in the NFL.