Chasing The GOAT| Micah Parsons Could Join Hall of Fame Linebacker Lawrence Taylor As Only Rookies To Win NFL DPOY

The Dallas Cowboys defense was atrocious in 2020, but this offseason they made a change in philosophy by replacing defensive coordinator Mike Nolan with Dan Quinn.

The addition of Quinn has elevated the defensive production and improved the scheme, which is now much more compatible with the personnel of the team.

The biggest difference has been the 2021 NFL draft No.12 overall pick Micah “Swiss Army Knife” Parsons out of Penn State. Parsons’ play has far exceeded his draft position. Few rookies in league history have been as impactful on the defensive end. Numbers aside, Parsons’ intangibles and his multi-faceted skill set jump off the screen.

He’s been so good that he’s drawn comparisons to a bevy of different former NFL players from Hall of Famer Junior Seau to the freakishly athletic LaVar Arrington, who also attended Penn State.

Parsons even wore No. 11 in Happy Valley to honor Arrington.

Parson’s strong debut campaign has analysts and talking heads saying he should not only win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year but also Defensive Player of the Year.

If Parsons does win DPOY he’ll become the first rookie since the GOAT Lawrence Taylor to win the league’s top defensive honor.

Taylor Won DROY And DPOY In 1981: Parsons Looks To Replicate In 2021

The generationally talented UNC Tar Heel product was drafted No. 2 overall in the 1981 NFL draft by the New York Giants. Taylor needed no time to establish himself as otherworldly. His rookie year was full of highlights, with No. 56 terrorizing offenses as LT accumlulated 9.5 sacks and stole even more souls. That’s a lot of sacks for an era where the run/pass ratio was 65-35.

It was Taylor’s combination of speed, size (6 feet 3 and 245 pounds) and power that had a huge effect on how offenses and the coordinators called games. The three-time DPOY winner (1981, 1982 and 1986) is considered the greatest defensive player ever. Not saying Parsons will ever get anywhere near Taylor’s stature, but this rookie season he’s performed at an all-time high level.

Parsons’ skill set probably resembles those of the aforementioned Arrington and Seau more than LT’s. But when you watch him play on Sundays, the combination of the elite speed, strength and game-changing performance (12 sacks) is very LT-ish. He’s made Dan Quinn’s job easy with his ability to line up anywhere and be productive.

 Parsons Has Room To Improve

Parsons is being developed and mentored by George Edwards in Dallas. Edwards once coached Arrington in Washington and Seau in Miami.

Here’s what he had to say about the comparisons and the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Parson’s overall development:

“Micah has done a really nice job of embracing the challenge and all the difference techniques and the different position groups that we’ve asked him. We just look forward to keep growing with him and seeing his skillset continue to improve. He’s the type of person that will work hard to get better and that’s what he wants to do. He wants to be the best and he’s got to work and just keep working through it, and I think it will continue to get better as we get down the road.”

Parsons’ combination of elite talent and hard work is the recipe to greatness and he’s definitely on that path.

Top 5 NFL Rookies Entering Thanksgiving Weekend 12 Action | Micah Parsons Is The Future

His combination of abilities make the words “generational talent” something Dallas fans can believe in.

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JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.