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Cowboys news: After a trade back with a division rival, Dallas selects Micah Parsons

Everything you need to know following round 1 of the NFL Draft

Pittsburgh v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys take Micah Parsons with No. 12 pick in NFL draft after trade with rival Philadelphia Eagles - Todd Archer, ESPN

ESPN Insider Todd Archer discusses the Cowboys first round draft pick.

The Cowboys have made no secret about their desire to add defenders during the draft, and had their eyes on cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II. But they were thwarted by the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, who took Horn and Surtain, respectively, in the two slots before their initial selection.

Making the trade within the division is a bit tricky, but the expectation was the New York Giants at No. 11 would have selected Smith, so the Cowboys were able to add an extra third-round selection, giving them five picks inside the top 100.

Without further moves, the Cowboys will have picks Nos. 44, 75, 84 and 99 in the second and third rounds, giving them more chances to add to a defense that allowed a franchise-record 473 points in 2020 and have a new defensive coordinator in Dan Quinn.

Parsons opted out last season, but his arrival coincides with the retirement of another Penn State linebacker, Sean Lee.

Micah Parsons takes his act to Dallas: How will Penn State’s blue-chip linebacker fit with the Cowboys defense? - Bob Flounders, pennlive.com

How will Micah Parsons fit within this Dallas defense?

The 6-3, 246-pound Parsons, who played just two seasons in State College, became the second first-round pick of the James Franklin era. Saquon Barkley was picked No. 2 overall by the New York Giants in 2018.

He is also the first Penn State linebacker to go in the first round since LaVar Arrington went No. 2 overall to the Washington Redskins in the 2000 draft.

“This guy can do anything you want on a football field,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said when describing Parsons.

“Not kinda fast, (he’s) 4.36 40 speed at 246 pounds. That’s not normal, by the way, to be that big and that explosive. When you watch him on video at Penn State, you really can’t take your eyes off him.

“It’s hard to find linebackers who can get off blocks. This guy comes downhill, he uses his hands, he can shock and shed and get to the ball carrier.”

2021 NFL Draft: Micah Parsons give Cowboys a defensive playmaker - Dante Pryor, saturdayblitz.com

After the top two cornerbacks Dallas coveted were gone, the Cowboys still selected a difference maker for the defense.

What the Cowboys get in Micah Parsons

Parsons is 250 pounds and ran a 4.39 40-yard dash during his pro day. The Penn State standout can move sideline to sideline. Parsons has the speed to drop deep and cover as well as move downhill and blitz.

Parsons is a sure tackler who was the first underclassmen to win Big Ten defensive player of the year. In 2019, Parsons had 109 total tackles, including 14 tackles for loss and five sacks. In addition, Parsons is an athletic marvel with tremendous upside.

Parsons needs to improve shedding blocks and not getting lost in the weeds in the run game. At worst, Parsons grades out as an outside linebacker who can put his hand in the dirt on passing downs.

Instant Analysis: What you need to know about Cowboys 2021 Draft pick Micah Parsons - David Howman, Blogging The Boys

Blogging The Boys own David Howman fills you in with an instant analysis of the Cowboys first round pick.

Parsons was one of the many players who opted out of this past season, leaving him with just two years as a starter at Penn State. That’s been a concern for some, especially since Parsons, a former five-star defensive end recruit, had never played linebacker until college.

Parsons played extremely well in his brief time with the Nittany Lions. In his first season, he tallied 82 tackles, four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Penn State sought to utilize his pass rushing background more in 2019, and it resulted in Parsons registering 109 tackles for loss, 14 tackles for loss, and five sacks in addition to knocking down five passes, forcing four fumbles, and recovering one. It earned him a consensus All-American selection at the end of the year.

Parsons’ player profile starts and ends with his athleticism. At 6’3” and 245 pounds, Parsons moves much faster than you’d expect. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, turning plenty of heads in the process. He has athleticism to spare, but he is still learning how to play linebacker

ESPN’s Kiper, McFarland react to Micah Parsons’ 2021 NFL Draft slot - Mark Brennan, 247 Sports

Draft analyst Mel Kiper and his colleague Booger McFarland give their take on the Cowboys selection.

“Offenses now are attacking the middle of a field. In Micah Parsons, you have a guy who is big enough size-wise, but he also has the speed to play in the middle of the field and there’s nothing — I mean nothing — he can’t do. Want to (run inside) there? I say, OK, diagnose the play, go make the play — see ball, hit ball. Tight ends are not gonna block him — Micah Parsons is coming downhill. You want to say, OK, I’m going to line you up in the box — a little play-action (pass) there. OK, no doubt, I can shed, stack and release, and I can chase down and go make a play.

“He’s only played linebacker two years. In high school, he was a defensive end rushing the passer. He can play in coverage, you can blitz him, he can be a thumper coming downhill. There’s nothing at the linebacker position that Micah Parsons cannot do. And for the Dallas Cowboys to get the best defensive player in the draft at pick number 12, they’ve got to be ecstatic.”

Cowboys draft picks 2021: When does Dallas pick next? Full list of NFL Draft selections - Jacob Camenker, Sporting News

Now that round one is finished, here is what Cowboys picks remain.

Cowboys draft picks 2021: When does Dallas pick?

Round 1, Pick No. 12: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Round 2, Pick No. 44

Round 3, Pick No. 75

Round 3, Pick No. 84

Round 3, Pick No. 99

Round 4, Pick No. 115

Round 4, Pick No. 138

Round 5, Pick No. 179

Round 6, Pick No. 192

Round 6, Pick No. 227

Round 7, Pick No. 238