Micah Parsons believes he and Diggs can become ‘even better’ than Rams duo
If there’s one thing Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons doesn’t lack, it’s confidence. To be fair, he has a right to be confident. In just one year in the NFL, the Penn State product emerged as one of the best linebackers in the game. He became the first player to unanimously win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award after collecting 13 sacks, 84 tackles (20 tackles for loss), and three forced fumbles.
Although there is a ton of pressure on the linebacker to repeat his success in his second year, Parsons doesn’t seem worried. He prides himself on his unique versatility and told reporters he plans to break the NFL sack record this upcoming season.
But that’s not his only lofty goal.
When speaking to Jori Epstein of USA Today Sports, Parsons said that he and defensive teammate Trevon Diggs have the potential to become “even better” than arguably the best defensive duo in the league: Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey.
"“It’s hard to say we’re the best because I know we’re young and we still make mistakes. It’s hard to put us over (Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman) Aaron Donald, the greatest defensive player in history, with Jalen Ramsey.So I won’t do it yet. But I think we can become them or even better if we learn together and stick together.”"
Cowboys LB Micah Parsons believes he and Trevon Diggs can be ‘even better’ than the Rams’ duo of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey
That’s quite a goal. Not only are Donald and Ramsey a huge part of the reason the Los Angeles Rams are the reigning NFL champions, but they are also individually two of the best players in the league. Donald is widely considered one of the greatest defensive linemen the sport has ever seen and Ramsey has been viewed as one of the best corners in the game for many years.
The two Rams also have several All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections to their names. But Diggs and Parsons also made both of those lists this season. Given that both of these Cowboys stars are only 23 years old, imagine what a couple of more years on the Dallas defense together can do. As the Cowboys linebacker said, if the duo can continue to do what they both did in 2021, the sky is the limit for these two.
Plus, some analysts and outlets are currently ranking Parsons over Donald in a few categories. As far as the Cowboys’ CB goes, some may doubt his greatness due to his risky style of play that bodes well for picks but not so well for consistent coverage. Even though the Alabama product had the most interceptions (11) in a single season since 1981, he did give up an immense amount of coverage yards. But Parsons doesn’t see that as a flaw:
"“His (risk) is pointed out more because he has such a one-on-one position. People don’t realize that a lot of people gamble throughout the game. Even I gamble. Any time a quarterback gets outside the pocket, it means a defensive lineman gambled, because it’s all really a contained rush. The QB should never escape the pocket. Any time a running back gets loose, that means you took a gamble as a linebacker. As a football player, you have to learn to pick and choose your battles and what to gamble.”"
The true difference between the Cowboys duo and the Rams duo is that Donald and Ramsey have had enough years in the league to prove they are consistently two of the best in the NFL. With Parsons only entering his second year and Diggs beginning his third, the two Dallas defenders will need more than just one top-notch season to even be worthy of comparison to these all-star veterans.
Luckily for the Cowboys, both players are still early on in their rookie contracts. But the front office would be wise to make sure they use their money wisely to keep these two on the roster when those expire. Parsons certainly wants to remain Diggs’ teammate as he believes the corner was one of the best in the NFL last year:
"“Without a doubt, I thought he was the best defensive player in the league last year. We’ve seen 20 sacks before. But in this era, we’ve never seen anyone reach 10-plus interceptions. So it’s disrespectful to me, because I think he deserves all the credit in the world and deserves to be named a top-five corner if not the best corner in the league.”"
Can this Cowboys duo go down in NFL defensive history? How they perform in 2022 will be a huge indicator.