6 Cowboys we’re the most excited to watch at training camp

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /

Micah Parsons, LB

Being the Cowboys’ first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons entered training camp with a giant spotlight on him. The versatile defender is expected to compete for a starting role on the linebacker corps as well as rush the passer as an edge defender to take advantage of his unique physical skills.

The Cowboys revamped their linebacker corps this offseason by drafting Parsons, LSU’s Jabril Cox, and signing free-agent Pro Bowl safety Keanu Neal and converting him to linebacker. They replace former veterans Sean Lee, who retired, and Joe Thomas, who signed with the Houston Texans this offseason as a free agent.

The drafting of Parsons placed both of the Cowboys’ Pro Bowl linebackers, Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, on notice. Dallas refused to pick up the fifth-year option of Vander Esch’s rookie contract due to his injury history. And Smith has seen a steady decline in play over the past two seasons.

The presence of Parsons will be a major shakeup to watch this summer and how he’s utilized in Dan Quinn’s new defensive scheme alongside or replacing Vander Esch and Smith. We are hoping to see the draft’s top defender use his highly-touted athletism on a daily basis whether that be by making tackles, rushing the passer, or in blanket coverage.