It’s weird to think about this, but one of the greatest things about the 2021 Dallas Cowboys was a player who wasn’t even on the roster this time a year ago. Thanks to the homerun selection of Micah Parsons, the Cowboys have completely changed the way we look at this defense. There are a lot of reasons to love the team’s new defensive star, and today we’re going to highlight eleven of them.
1. He was the correct pick
We have to admit, there was a lot of consternation when it came to selecting the Penn State linebacker with the team’s top draft pick. Part of it was just missing out on not one, but two of the top cornerbacks in the draft. Part of it was passing on talented tackle Rashawn Slater. Regardless of the reasoning, many fans felt the Cowboys made a big mistake.
But that feeling is no more. Parsons has validated the selection to the moon and back. Make no mistake about it, he was the right pick.
2. He’s under contract for four more years
The Cowboys have a lot of sorting out to do when it comes to how they chose to shape their roster, but one thing they won’t have to worry about for a while is Parsons. The team will have him on a low-cost rookie deal for the next three years followed by an extra year added on when they exercise his fifth-year option. It’s always nice when a draft pick works out, but it’s especially nice when it works out early so the team can reap the rewards for longer.
3. He always wanted to be a Cowboy
We love that fate brought Parsons to Dallas, but it’s even more enjoyable when we see just how much he wanted to be drafted by the Cowboys.
I love it when one of our draft picks is passionate about wanting to come to Dallas. It's destiny. Congrats, Micah Parsons! pic.twitter.com/t9h62Q9L8u— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 27, 2021
4. He’s an elite edge rusher
Not only did the Cowboys get an incredibly athletic defensive stud, but it’s looking like they might’ve landed an elite edge rusher. The Cowboys won’t limit what Parsons can do, but a player who can rush the quarterback with his skill level is not going to be wasted at the off-ball linebacker position. Premium edge rushers are special players in the NFL, and Parsons is showing all the signs of just that.
Micah Parsons had a SPECIAL rookie season⭐️— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 17, 2022
Highest graded Linebacker (88.2)
Highest graded pass rusher (93.0)
Highest pass rush win rate ever for a rookie (26%) pic.twitter.com/A8MYHEaMyH
5. He’s fast
There is no question that Parsons is one fast dude. His 4.3 speed was sold during the draft season to peddle the remarkable athleticism one wouldn’t normally expect from a 6-foot-3, 245-pound NFL player. That speed was on full display during the season as he went from sideline to sideline in a flash and closed faster than Al Pacino in Glengarry Glen Ross. And if that didn’t impress you enough, what about a fun little footrace with speedsters Nick Chubb and Tyreek Hill?
6. He’s smart
Parsons isn’t just a freakish athlete as he’s got it going on upstairs too. He has been a willing student from the moment he came into the NFL. It’s crazy everything the Cowboys coaching staff threw at him at such a young age, but it’s even crazier that Parsons didn’t flinch and just kept learning. He’s an ultra competitor and loves to strategize so it shouldn’t be all that surprising that he got mixed up with the Cowboys Chessmaster, Amari Cooper. Of course, in the beginning, it appeared the rook bit off a little more than he could chew.
Dallas Cowboys rookie @MicahhParsons11 called out veteran Amari Cooper to a chess match.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) June 8, 2021
The two played. Amari won. And he enjoyed putting Micah in checkmate.
(via @AmariCooper9) pic.twitter.com/3yRz5zweTm
But in true Parsons fashion, the youngster would not be denied and it only took a couple of days for the rookie to serve Cooper a little humble pie.
7. His versatility is off-the-charts
The Cowboys didn’t realize exactly what they got when they selected Parsons, so the coaching staff wasted no time playing with their new toy. In training camp, they were challenging him in every way possible.
Micah Parsons the edge rusher.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) July 25, 2021
Micah Parsons the defensive back.
Dan Quinn's pledge to test him out and see what all he can do wasn't just lip service. pic.twitter.com/7W3efbv8Xw
And those skills showed again in the regular season...
Your best pass rusher casually carrying a vertical route and making a play on the ball, leading to Kearse's INT.— Sean Martin ✭ (@SeanMartinNFL) December 4, 2021
We're already out of great things to say about Micah Parsons. What an unreal player. pic.twitter.com/flRpBbRnhb
Micah Parsons in coverage? also good.pic.twitter.com/NUFH6vF1sn— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 19, 2021
8. He’s won all the awards
Parsons had an incredible rookie season. He earned First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors right away. He also won the NFL’s Butkus Award given to the league’s top linebacker. He’s won Rookie Defensive Player of the Year and the Rookie Player of the Year awards. And up until he missed action late in the year with COVID and a four-sack game by T.J. Watt, Parsons was even in the running for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The guy won just about everything he could get his mitts on and that is quite an impressive way to start off your NFL career.
9. His maturity shows
You’d think a young player this loaded in talent who has run into so much individual success so quickly would have moments of arrogance. But no, not Micah. Parsons is confident in his ability, but he’s not overconfident. Even at a younger age, he shows a great deal of respect for the game and towards the players who play it. He doesn’t talk trash about an upcoming opponent but instead praises them for what they’ve done.
Animal-loving Micah Parsons compares Kyler Murray to cheetah, fastest animal. Can lion Micah catch him?— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) December 29, 2021
"A lion doesn’t just go by himself," Micah said. "It’s a lot of lions & lionesses. So if you’ve got a pack of lions then I like the lion over the cheetah any day of the week."
10. He’s hungry
Parsons’ uniqueness has manifested into his own football position, appropriately labeled a “lionbacker.” This represents his perpetual hunger for action. He wants to make plays, make more plays, and then keep making more plays. It never stops with him. His hunger is so real that it pains him to be pulled from games.
Cowboys routing Washington and Micah's actually worried about being taken out of the game. I absolutely love it. The hunger is real! pic.twitter.com/ntn6VcEFz6— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) December 29, 2021
And this hunger was on display back in the preseason as Hard Knocks captured a moment when new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had to fend off repeated requests to get back into the game.
My favorite Hard Knocks moment...— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 11, 2021
Micah's a bundle of pent-up aggression and he's going to be a handful, but Quinn knows how to deal with his players. Understanding, but no wavering. pic.twitter.com/mmWpHw6793
11. He remembers
Parsons will have a lot of good memories to reflect on during his rookie season, but that in no way makes him satisfied. He has his eyes on the prize and had no problem keeping it real in sharing his disappointment of the Cowboys' early playoff exit. That’s what you want to hear. If losses like this cut deep with players, they’re going to do everything in their power to keep it from happening again.
That’s what we remember too, Micah Parsons, but we will never forget just how incredibly amazing of a year you had and look forward to many many more.