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.
Parsons even wore No. 11 in Happy Valley to honor Arrington.
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) July 26, 2020
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.
(via @nflthrowback) pic.twitter.com/NhyBNilJfQ
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) February 26, 2021
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.
— Mr. Thompson (@KingMeKing3) December 13, 2021
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.”
Cowboys def. assistant George Edwards said they’re using Micah Parsons similar to when he coached LaVar Arrington/Junior Seau: “The number of hats (Micah) wears going into a game is very impressive. Things we ask him to do and the things he’s capable of doing is very impressive.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 20, 2021
Parsons’ combination of elite talent and hard work is the recipe to greatness and he’s definitely on that path.
His combination of abilities make the words “generational talent” something Dallas fans can believe in.
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