The 2020 NFL Season made it clear that the Dallas Cowboys needed an infusion of young talent into their defense. Fans should be excited to see how the defensive team has grown with the addition of Micah Parson, drafted as a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Two weeks into the 2021 season, Parsons has demonstrated that he has a good shot at making Cowboys history. He could become the first player in the franchise’s history to win Defensive Rookie of the Year (ROTY) honors from the Associated Press.
The Cowboys have had many stellar defenders on the roster over the years. However, ever since the Associated Press began awarding Rookie of the Year honors in 1967, a Dallas Cowboy has not won the award.
Parsons was voted as the favorite by most oddsmakers when potential Defensive ROTY candidates were released. Two games into the season, it is safe to say he is well on his way to making a case to win the award at the season’s end.
With seven tackles (three solos) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Parsons made an excellent first impression on voters. What will continue to make him a leading candidate in future games will be his performance against the Chargers and the opportunity that has opened up to Parsons with Demarcus Lawrence out for 6-8 weeks due to an injury.
With Lawrence out and Randy Gregory unable to fill the position during the Chargers game due to Covid protocols, the team needed Parsons to play as a defensive end. They needed him to make sure the Cowboys could put some pressure on the Chargers quarterback, Justin Herbert.
Parsons recorded two solo tackles, one tackle for a loss, eight pressures, four quarterback hits, and a sack. The sack occurred late in the game, with the Cowboys holding a 17-14 lead and the Chargers in position to score. On second and goal from the seven, Parsons took down Herbert for an 18-yard loss. Consequently, the Chargers ended up having to settle for a field goal rather than take the lead with a touchdown.
Following the game, Parsons talked about the move from linebacker to a defensive end:
“After practice, [Dan Quinn] came up to me and was like, ‘Man, we’re going to need you to step up big for us this week. I just said, ‘Alright, Coach. Let’s play.'”
With Gregory back next week, Parsons will likely see less time as a defensive end. However, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will likely continue to work him into the rotation. That means more opportunities to make impact plays and continue to build the case to be voted as the Defensive Rookie of the Year.