FRISCO - Did the Dallas Cowboys draft a defensive monster set to make an immediate impact on the Cowboys' 2021 reconstructed defense? According to the sportsbooks, yes.
Micah Parsons comes in with +550 odds to win the 2021 Defensive NFL Rookie of the Year Award, odds by FanDuel. Coming in at number two is Kwity Paye of the Indianapolis Colts with +850 odds.
If Parsons does win the title, he will will make history, as Dallas has never featured the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, an award that dates back to 1967.
The Dallas Cowboys first-round pick signed his first pro contract last week, a four-year deal worth a guaranteed $17 million and a $9.8 million signing bonus.
Parsons has made an impressive debut with the Cowboys during OTAs and minicamp and already is staking his claim to the starting spot at middle linebacker. Coach Mike McCarthy has been impressed with the No. 12 overall pick (third defensive player off the board.)
"You can see the ability and just the instinct, the way he can react and get off the spot at the linebacker position," McCarthy said. "We're just going through our installs, going through our concepts. But he's fitting in real nicely."
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The 6-3, 245-pound Parsons also has showcased his varied skillset by working at outside linebacker and on the edge as a pass-rusher.
"It's one thing to cover, and one thing to tackle,” Parsons told the media after a recent workout, "but if you can do the trifecta and do all three – cover, tackle and blitz and get pressure – then that's what makes you a good ballplayer.”
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The Cowboys defense could use a boost of talent and competition, after ranking 23rd in the league in total defense last season. Dallas gave up 386.4 yards per game, ranking 28th in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing opponents to score 29.6 points per game.
A large spotlight will be on the rookie who makes his regular-season debut against Tom Brady with "America's Team"-type expectations. ... and maybe with a chance to make Cowboys rookie history.