Today, he is the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and the hope of Dallas Cowboys fans everywhere. But, there was a time that we were unsure of just what the Cowboys had in Micah Parsons. The story has been well told of how the Cowboys coveted a cornerback in the 2021 draft but were thwarted when both Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn were taken just ahead of the Cowboys pick. They decided to trade down a couple of spots and then settle on Parsons.
Parsons came into the draft with a high reputation and was called by some as the best defensive player in the draft. Since he had skipped the 2020 college season, there was some hesitation because there was no recent tape. So it wasn’t exactly clear what the Cowboys had gotten with their 12th overall pick.
We soon learned that they had gotten a superstar in the making, a player who turned in one of the most dominant rookie campaigns for a defender ever. That dominance was enhanced by his phenomenal pass rushing skills. He had some of that coming out of Penn State, but to hear Parsons tell it he learned a great deal about the art of the pass rush from the Cowboys offensive line in training camp.
Parsons said on PFT Live that working with the Cowboys’ offensive linemen, particularly Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, made a big difference in his development.
“They kind of took me under their wing, taught me, ‘This is what you’ve got to do to get better and better’ and I did it and got better,” Parsons said.
Parsons said Collins taught him that his speed could be an asset to him not just in using it to blow past opposing offensive linemen, but also in setting up other pass rush moves because opposing linemen were so worried about his speed.
“LC was like, ‘You’re fast as hell but you’ve got to make them fear your speed, they’ve got to feel you, and then it’s like chess, that’s how you work your counters,’” Parsons said.
Parsons went on to discuss pass rushing and how some of the roughing the passer penalties that are being called should be reviewable. Every NFL fan has lamented a moment when their team’s pass rusher has grazed a quarterbacks helmet and received a penalty. Parsons had a penalty on Thanksgiving that he sure would have liked to have gone the other way,
Parsons, asked on PFT Live about the highly questionable roughing the passer penalty he took for a hit on Derek Carr on Thanksgiving against the Raiders, said replay review should be available to overturn a bad roughing call.
“I think some of these flags that they throw should be reviewable. I hate that that’s not reviewable,” Parsons said. “Because those cost games.”
It does feel at times like protecting the quarterback has gone too far and defenses are suffering major momentum changes with roughing calls.
Would you make roughing the passer reviewable?