Dallas Cowboys nab top defensive player in new mock draft

Micah Parsons, Penn State Nittany Lions, (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Micah Parsons, Penn State Nittany Lions, (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Micah Parsons, Penn State Nittany Lions
Micah Parsons, Penn State Nittany Lions, (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Round, pick 10: Micah Parsons, LB- Penn State

The Dallas Cowboys defense was awful in 2020. The team allowed the fifth-most points per game last year with 29.6. Needless to say, the team headed into this offseason in dire need of help on that side of the ball.

That need leads the team to select a player who is arguably the top defensive player in this draft in linebacker Micah Parsons. The 21-year old exploded onto the college football scene by posting an objectively terrific season in 2019.

The Penn State product managed to rack up an impressive 14 tackles for a loss, five sacks, and 109 total tackles. The young defender also flashed his tremendous ability to force turnovers that year and he managed to finish that season with four forced fumbles, the fourth-most in the NCAA.

Following his explosive performance in 2019, the promising young prospect decided, as many players did, to opt-out of the 2020 season due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. If that decision cast some doubt on the draft stock of the former Nittany Lion that doubt was all but erased by his tremendous Pro Day performance. The six-foot-three, 245-pound prospect ran an absolutely absurd 4.39 40-yard dash.

The Cowboy’s current linebacker group is headlined by Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. Esch, who was selected to a Pro Bowl during his rookie season back in 2018, has been afflicted with a myriad of injuries since then that have resulted in the young defender missing 13 games over the past two seasons. Meanwhile, Smith has, at times, struggled to live up to his massive contract extension.

The Dallas Cowboys nab arguably the best defensive player in this draft class with their top pick. Given Leighton Vander Esch’s injury struggles and his looming fifth-year option next season this move ensures excellence at the linebacker position moving forward. Regardless of what the team decides to do with Vander Esch, this move adds a legitimate playmaker with a rare combination of speed and size to America’s Team.