When the Dallas Cowboys selected linebacker Micah Parsons No. 12 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, the selection wasn't universally praised. Not everyone thought it was the best possible pick for Dallas and few likely expected the rookie season that was to come.
Last season, Parsons was 1.5 sacks short of the rookie sack record for a single season and had the highest pass rush grade in the NFL. Following his dominant pass-rushing performance last season, the idea of making Parsons a full-time edge-rusher has been a frequent talking point.
However, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn thinks that would be a disservice to Parsons' skillset.
“If you knew where he was on all of the plays, you’d say, ‘Hey, I’m going to make sure this guy doesn’t ruin the game.’ And so another tight end or another back would go chip to him. And that’s the challenge of having somebody who can play left side, right side. I get your argument, but with his specific skills … it makes sense to balance the two spots," Quinn said.
“I think that’s what makes his skill set so unique. There’s a lot of players that can be on the edge. We’ve seen excellent players, hall of fame players that can rip the edge. There’s not a lot of guys that can move in and out of two spots. ... I’m pleased with how we are featuring him today.”
Versatility is something that Parsons displayed immensely as a rookie. Parsons didn't just nearly break the rookie sack record, but also allowed zero touchdowns in 284 coverage snaps last season. Additionally, Parsons had the highest Pro Football Focus grade among linebackers league-wide.
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Parsons acknowledges and also takes pride in his versatility. He also sees, in terms of motivation, a vision of sorts: To be like Michael Jordan, like LeBron James, like Kobe Bryant ...
“The thing that keeps me driving is just my competitive nature,” said Parsons. “You look at all the great players like (Michael Jordan), you look at LeBron (James) and Kobe (Bryant), they always have this drive to do something bigger than what was ever done before. Bringing a Super Bowl (to Dallas) is where my mind’s at, and that’s what drives me.''
And it will drive Micah Parsons to play more than one position for the Cowboys.
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