It is obvious that there is a wide variety of opinions when it comes to this 2021 NFL Draft class for the Dallas Cowboys, specifically the selection of Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons in the first round. I voiced my displeasure on social media but now that we have had a few days to digest the aftermath, I offer my final analysis on the pick itself.
The first thing that stands out is how long, fast, athletic, and nasty the team just got. Every draft pick has their own identity yet collectively the Dallas Cowboys could call this group their goons. I don’t mean that in a bad way either as it appears as if the identity of the defense is changing right in front of our eyes.
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn wants tough, physical, and big but most importantly he wants to add attitude or swagger to separate what has been the red-headed stepchild who messes everything up into a leading group. Saying measurables are important is an understatement as length is another word to describe this class.
The Micah Parsons pick was a worst-case scenario for me as I do not value the position as much as the Dallas Cowboys do. In 2016 the Cowboys selected an injured Jaylon Smith who has stayed relatively healthy in his career in Dallas but his play hasn’t caught up to his contract. Calls for him to be released are loud but I think he deserves another year.
2018 saw the team draft linebacker Leighton Vander Esch who has struggled to stay healthy and just had his fifth-year option declined. The year is 2021and the team has yet again invested a premium pick on an off-the-ball linebacker.
If you are of driving age and have an issue with always scratching your rims when you drive, why would you pay premium money for chrome wheels when you know they are going to get beat up. Why not pay less for just as good of a product that isn’t as flashy but still gets the job done. That is exactly how I felt about linebackers Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox.
That doesn’t mean I don’t like Parsons because I do, I just don’t like the position he plays. The fact that he is ultra-athletic and can rush the passer does make me feel better about the selection. Parsons is going to generate a ton of those highlight plays but longevity is what I am concerned with most.
Maturity level concerns early in his career mixed with some disturbing hazing allegations certainly didn’t help his case to win over the doubters but I have zero doubts about his play. Parsons, the player, is an absolute game-changer.
What would change my mind about the selection of Micah Parsons is if the team decided to use him in a way that would enhance his skillset and limit the pounding traditional linebackers have to absorb. Parsons is an athletic freak that can chase plays and rush the passer with the best of them.
If Parsons stays as a traditional linebacker he has to show that he can stack and shed while also learn how to diagnose and react quickly enough on plays. Parsons is currently a see ball get ball kinda guy.
I’m just spitballing here but what if the Dallas Cowboys use him in a way that would make his impact almost instant? For years, the Dallas Cowboys chased down safeties to no avail and even tried to give up premium picks for superstar safety Jamal Adams.
I think the Dallas Cowboys game against Arizona and Budda Baker is the blueprint for what I’m about to say. What if the Dallas Cowboys did listen about off-the-ball linebackers and their plan is to utilize Parsons as just a permanent rover or spy on defense whose job is to create havoc in any way around the line of scrimmage?
Parsons can chase plays from his vantage point on the field and rush the passer when the quarterback drops back to pass which are strengths the Cowboys have to try and take advantage of.
If that is the case, the selection of a more traditional linebacker who can cover in Jabril Cox is the ultimate coup for Dallas. This draft was supposed to be all about the Kyle Pitts of the world and how unicorn-like they are.
What if Parsons is that unicorn defender that is tough enough for those violent collisions inside but also faster ( Parsons ran a 4.39 Pro Day forty) than those supposed unicorns on the other side of the ball?
There is a lot of football to be picked up by these rookie’s and they aren’t going to get much help from the veterans as they too are learning the ropes of a new defense while trying to fight off younger cheaper options gunning for their positions.
I didn’t like the Parsons pick for a multitude of reasons but Parsons the player is someone I am glad the Dallas Cowboys now currently employ. Welcome to the Dallas Cowboys. Micah Parsons.