Was Dallas drafting Micah Parsons the plan all along?

Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: David Dermer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports)
Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: David Dermer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Dallas Cowboys drafted Micah Parsons using a familiar strategy

Day one of the 2021 NFL Draft ended with many moving pieces as per usual. This time around, the Dallas Cowboys were part of the moving pieces. It was a small move for the team to draft linebacker Micah Parsons and get an extra draft pick.

The Cowboys are known for drafting the best player available rather than a player of positional need. We have seen it in full effect recently with the selections of Parsons this year, wideout CeeDee Lamb last year, and offensive guard Zack Martin in 2014.

There were two top cornerbacks on the Cowboys’ radar. They were Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II and South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn. Unfortunately for them, both were taken back-to-back at eight and nine, leaving the Cowboys at ten with limited options, or so we thought.

Dallas traded down with the Philadelphia Eagles two spots, which gave the team an extra third-round pick this year. Come to the 12th pick, their player to draft at ten was still available.

Digging deep

Parsons was the best defensive player in the draft and was considered a top-five talent. Despite the temptations to draft yet another offensive lineman in Rashawn Slater, the Cowboys improved their defense.

Maybe that’s why Dallas signed safety Keanu Neal as a linebacker. That would convince teams that the Cowboys were not in the market for a linebacker early, and they get to watch Parsons freefall without worries of a trade-up to steal him.

Now, the Dallas Cowboys have three good linebackers, and Neal can continue as a safety. They also get a third-round pick at no cost to add to the team’s depth.

While I’m sure if Horn or Surtain were still on the board, they would take Parsons’ place, it is still an intriguing thing to see. It gives defensive coordinator Dan Quinn more options. That is always a good thing.

Parsons can be a reliable coverage linebacker, but he specializes in run-stuffing and going in for a blitz. The Cowboys need help with exactly that, stopping the run and getting to the quarterback.

Who knows when the Penn State product will be called in on a blitz to chase down opposing quarterbacks? The kind of role Smith had back in 2018 when he racked up 4.0 sacks and 121 tackles.

Longtime Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee recently retired, and backup Joe Thomas signed with the Houston Texans. That meant Dallas needed help filling out the holes at linebacker. That’s not an issue anymore.

At first, I was not a fan of the pick. Considering both corners were off the board and the desperate need on defense, you need to appreciate it. I’m sure Jerry Jones and the rest of the staff put a lot of thought into the idea of adding Parsons.

Related Story. Three ways Micah Parsons impacts the Dallas Cowboys. light

The Dallas Cowboys adding Micah Parsons makes them a better team now and in the long run. I think the Neal statements were an effort to make sure their “insurance” pick was still there, and it paid off. Dallas now boasts arguably the best linebacking group in the NFL.