Cowboys' Micah Parsons defends CJ Stroud amid pre-draft criticism

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Ohio State v Georgia
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Ohio State v Georgia / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

The NFL Draft has finally arrived. Rumors are swirling and teams are strategically building smokescreens to lead others astray from their true intentions. With the No. 26 overall pick, the Dallas Cowboys can kick their feet up and watch how the board unfolds.

All the pre-draft buzz indicates the Cowboys will take a tight end, wide receiver, running back or defensive linemen in the first round. It's possible they draft another pass rusher to pair with Micah Parsons for the long term, but it all depends on who's available.

The top of the draft seemingly is full of smokescreens and red herrings. After months of being coined the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick, CJ Stroud is suddenly viewed as someone who could fall out of the top 10 entirely.

This sudden and collective knock on Stroud's draft stock is very familiar, unfortunately. The same thing happened with fellow former Ohio State QB Justin Fields leading up to draft night, and he wound up falling to the 11th pick.

Micah Parsons has recognized the hurried Stroud hate and he took to Twitter to defend the former Buckeye. Parsons likened Stroud's situation to that of Fields two years ago and is excited for Stroud to silence his haters.

Cowboys star Micah Parsons defends CJ Stroud from pre-draft critics.

Again, it wasn't long ago Stroud was considered the overwhelming favorite to be taken first overall. After the Panthers traded for the pick, 11 team reps made the trip to Ohio State for Stroud's pro day. Over the last month, though, Alabama's Bryce Young has supplanted Stroud as the favorite to be the first pick.

Further, Kentucky's Will Levis' odds to be the second overall picked skyrocketed this week. This comes after former NFL general manager Michael Lombardi heard from sources that Stroud is a difficult player to coach.

Former NFL quarterback Brady Quinn piled on by saying Stroud "ghosted" the Manning Passing Academy the day before the event. Robert Griffin III was among several current and former players who blasted Quinn. The ESPN analyst called Quinn's attempt to tear down Stroud's character "bogus" and revealed Stroud hadn't made a commitment to the event like Quinn implied.

Parsons clearly is in lockstep with RGIII and everyone else who's defended Stroud amid this apparent smear campaign.

Is it possible a team slated outside the top three picks (the Colts at No. 4?) loves Stroud and is hoping this widespread panning sees the QB fall? Absolutely. That's part of the lead-up to the draft. However, there's a difference between partaking in a little gamesmanship and besmirching a player's character.

Stroud is experiencing both and Parsons is tired of it.