The Dallas Cowboys struck gold when they landed Micah Parsons with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The rookie linebacker has exceeded expectations in year one, building excitement around what’s to come in his promising NFL career. Parsons hasn’t just been dominant for a rookie. He’s been a dominant defensive player, period. As he inches closer to history, Parsons can put the stamp on his NFL Defensive Player of the Year case.
Micah Parsons can make more history in the final 2 games
Micah Parsons is already one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL, and he’s only 22 years old. He’s put up some insane numbers in his first season with the Dallas Cowboys.
Parsons has recorded 79 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks through 15 games in 2021. It seems like every week, he’s making more history.
The Penn State product reeled off a six-game sack streak from Weeks 9 to 14. He recorded 9.5 sacks, the most in league history by a rookie over that span of games.
Parsons’ 13 sacks place him in elite company with legendary pass-rushers Reggie White and Dwight Freeney, who accomplished the same feat as rookies. The Cowboys star is just two sacks away from passing Jevon Kearse for the rookie sack record (14.5).
“It is on my mind,” Parsons told the Dallas Morning News. “Obviously, that would be an extraordinary thing to do for a guy that’s an off-ball linebacker. It would really mean a lot to me. I know I can do it.”
The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native has tied Von Miller for the most quarterback hits by a rookie in NFL history (29). He’s also five tackles for loss away from tying former Steelers linebacker Kendrell Bell for the most by a rookie. With two games left, there’s a strong possibility Parsons could take down both records.
The Cowboys linebacker is a lock to win Defensive Rookie of the Year
After watching Micah Parsons’ Penn State film, it’s easy to see why so many scouts loved his game coming out of college.
He displayed elite speed and athleticism from his linebacker position and showed no physical limitations for what he could do on the football field. While the Dallas Cowboys saw immense potential in the young defender, there’s no way they saw this coming.
Parsons made an immediate impact as soon as he stepped foot in the Cowboys’ locker room. He brings a confident swagger that Dallas lacked on defense in 2020.
The numbers don’t lie. Parsons is the best rookie from the 2021 draft class, regardless of position. This crazy season doesn’t have many sure things, but this guy winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year is one of them.
The first-year linebacker isn’t the only rookie who’s making an impact in 2021.
Washington’s Jamin Davis, Denver’s Patrick Surtain II, Baltimore’s Odafe Oweh, and Cleveland’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah have played well. Parsons has just played better.
It doesn’t matter how Micah Parsons finishes the season. He’ll undoubtedly be taking home the hardware.
Why Parsons deserves to also win NFL Defensive Player of the Year
Micah Parsons should be a lock to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, but he has bigger fish to fry. The Dallas Cowboys’ sensation is also in heavy contention for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
For much of the 2021 season, the same few names dominated the conversation surrounding who’d win the award. Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett and Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt were the frontrunners. Parsons’ teammate, cornerback Trevon Diggs, also deserves consideration.
While all three players make valid cases to win the award, you can poke a hole in each of them.
Diggs leads the league in interceptions and passes defended, but he’s also given up several big plays through the air. Watt and Garrett have 17.5 and 15 sacks, respectively. However, neither Pittsburgh nor Cleveland fields a top-10 defense like Dallas does.
Parsons has helped transform the Cowboys’ defense into one of the better units in the NFL. He’s sixth in the league in sacks (13), third in quarterback hits (29), and third in quarterback pressures (45).
The rookie’s versatility further strengthens his case for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He’s played everywhere. Whether he’s lining up at linebacker, defensive end, or cornerback, Parsons is going to find the football.
Micah Parsons has put the NFL on notice, and the final two regular-season games could cement his historic season.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.