To the shock and awe of many the Dallas Cowboys stayed true to their word and focused heavily on upgrading the defense with nearly all of their draft picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. With a total of 11 draft picks, after making a first-round trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, all but three of those were used to hopefully upgrade the defense.
Highlighting the Dallas Cowboys 2021 rookie draft class is former Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons. Parsons was arguably considered the best defensive player in the entire draft class and someone who has a chance to make an early impact with the Cowboys from the get-go.
Without even stepping on the field yet in the NFL, Micah Parsons is already favored to become the 2021 Rookie Defensive Player of the Year. That’s quite an honor and one the Dallas Cowboys wouldn’t mind him earning. Thankfully he possesses the athletic prowess to do just that.
Micah Parson’s athleticism puts him in elite NFL company
RD 1 | PICK 12 - Cowboys: Micah Parsons LB, Penn State— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) April 30, 2021
Despite opting out of the 2020 season, Parsons earned a 97 production score due to his elite two-year output at Penn State (led team in tackles as true frosh & sophomore).#NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/4gDGCMmIVr
Parson’s 97 overall draft score is tied for third-highest among linebackers invited to the combine since the 2013 NFL Draft, behind only Devin Bush (99) and Devin White (99). pic.twitter.com/PdIq9rRRod— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) April 30, 2021
Since 2013 there have only been two linebackers who have earned a better draft score than Micah Parsons according to Next Gen Stats. Considering the other LBs on their list Parsons is in some pretty impressive company and that should please the Dallas Cowboys.
With concerns with both Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch in both the short and long-term, Micah Parsons should be viewed as the present and future of Dallas’ LB position. His elite athleticism is encouraging on its own, but his production is in college is what makes him such an intriguing addition for the Cowboys.
Micah Parsons immediately upgrades Dallas’ run defense
There have been a lot of really good linebackers to come out of college since 2014, so to see that Micah Parsons has had the highest run-defense grade since then is really impressive. Considering how poor the Cowboys defense was in this area last year Parsons’ addition should pay immediate dividends.
Cowboys’ new LB Micah Parsons: 94.8 run-defense grade in 2019.— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 30, 2021
Highest by a LB since 2014. pic.twitter.com/3WuP22F9bf
Parsons is at his best when he’s attacking the line of scrimmage as either a blitzer or run defender. He uses his speed and athleticism to his advantage when running down the ball carrier and that’s a strength the Dallas Cowboys can exploit early on while they continue to develop other areas of his game.
Right now Micah Parsons is a moldable piece of clay the Dallas Cowboys can build into the player they want him to become. He’s just starting to scratch the surface of his God-given talent and if he ever reaches his peak he should become a force to be reckoned with.
All in all, Micah Parsons has a chance to be a really good player for the Dallas Cowboys for years to come. He should help solidify the LB position immediately and has a chance to be the kind of difference maker the Cowboys haven’t had on the defensive side of the ball in quite some time. The only thing left for him to do now is prove it.