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Cowboys LB Micah Parsons Holds No Resentment Toward Giants for Passing on Him in Draft

The Dallas Cowboys linebacker revealed the Giants had pre-draft interest in him but they ultimately decided to go in another direction.

At one point in the NFL draft process, the stars appeared to be aligning for the New York Giants to draft Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, widely regarded as a Day 1 starter for a defense looking for a versatile, big, and explosive play-maker.

But when it came time for the Giants to make their decision in the first round of the draft, New York, sitting at No. 11, found the allure of picking up some extra draft capital that included an extra first-round pick in next year's draft too good to pass up.

The Giants agreed to trade places in the first round with the Chicago Bears, who held the 20th overall pick. Chicago grabbed quarterback Justin Fields, the Cowboys, sitting at No. 12, took Parsons, and the Giants, at No. 20, took receiver Kadarius Toney.

Parsons, who during his Penn State career was something of an athletic freak of nature, has thrived so far in Dallas under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Parsons has recorded 2.5 sacks and seven quarterback hits.

He is also Pro Football Focus's top-rated edge defender from the 2021 draft class. His 11.6 pass-rush productivity rate and 23.6 percent win rate are tops among his fellow rookie defenders with at least 80 pass-rush snaps.

"He’s an elite player," said Giants head coach Joe Judge, who was part of the Giants contingent that attended Parson's Pro Day at Penn State. "You watch this guy play--he’s very athletic, and he has really good instincts.

"Obviously, they use him on the edge in the pass rush, he’s got the green dot, he’s playing in the stack right now, makes plays in both spots. ... I think this guy is going to be one of the elite players in the league for a long time."

So why did the Giants pass on a chance to add the elite Parsons to their defensive arsenal?

"Our decision had nothing to do with his impact as a player," Judge said. "We just make the best decision for the team."


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The decision not to select Parsons stunned several people who pointed to the Giants' stagnant pass rush over the years and their need to add talent. The Giants would get lucky in the second round by adding Georgia's Azeez Ojulari, who has 3.0 sacks on the season so far.

But even Ojulari's presence hasn't seemed to do much, at least yet, to turbocharge the Giants pass rush.

Parsons admitted that he was somewhat surprised over how things worked out in the draft.

"All pre-draft, they seemed pretty interested," he said "They said they were interested--called me pre-draft saying hope you fall to us."

But with the Giants passing and the Cowboys pouncing on him, Parsons said he has no hard feelings toward the Giants.

"It’s business. It is what it is," Parsons said. "Everybody got their personal choices. But it ain’t no motive or motivation--I just know every time I’m going to come out there, I’m going to ball.

"They made their decision. Dallas made their decision. I think Dallas made the best decision and I’m just going to show them why they keep making the best decision."

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