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Micah Parsons, Jabril Cox Given Highest Run Defense Grades for Rookie LBs by Pro Football Focus

The position for the Dallas seemed to be set with and . However, and poor play forced Dallas to look to upgrade the unit in the , and they took a double-dip.

After missing out on cornerbacks and in the , the Cowboys landed who many thought to be the best defensive player in the draft with the 12th overall pick, Micah Parsons. In the fourth round, they snagged Jabril Cox, who some believed to be a Day 2 selection. Three games into the , both have played well, and according to Pro , they are the highest-graded linebackers in terms of run .

When Parsons was drafted, the fear of many was that he would only be used as an off-the-ball linebacker. But, under the tutelage of , Parsons has been able to use his plethora of skills. Not only has he lined up as a linebacker he’s also rushed the passer from the and the defensive position.

At 6’3 and 245 pounds, Parsons has shown incredible speed from sideline to sideline. He sets the edge well and sheds blocks to make plays against the run. Also, he has the ability to drop back into coverage with his range on the field.

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The Cowboys have been cautious with his snap count in the preseason. After 11 snaps in the Game against the , it went up to 14 against the and then 18 against the . Although his playing time has gradually increased, Parsons feels like he’s been held back a bit.

“I feel like I wasn’t able to fully go-go yet,” Parsons told reporters Saturday night. “I feel like the leash is still on. But we’re going to let it off soon.

“We’re just very limited right now, not trying to show too much. I’m kind of just biting my tongue because I know what we’re really capable of.”

Parsons had a run defense grade of 92.4 entering the NFL Draft which was the highest for all linebackers so his performance in the preseason shouldn’t surprise anyone. There’s no telling that how much Parsons will play in the Cowboy’s final preseason game this Sunday against the or if he’ll play at all. However, he’s already proved that he’s a swiss army knife and the most versatile defender on the Cowboy’s defense.

While Parsons’s play against the run was expected, it wasn’t a strong suit for Cox during his college days. However, he has shown that he can diagnose plays quickly and use his speed to close in on ball carriers in the run game.

The former Tiger has totaled 17 tackles in the preseason which leads the team and he’s led or been tied for the most tackles in every game. He’s also shown his versatility much like Parsons. In the videos below provided by Bob Sturm of The Athletic, Cox displays his ability to play the run, drop back in coverage, and rush the .

Cox is currently the fifth linebacker in the Cowboys rotation. That doesn’t mean he won’t see the field though especially with his pass coverage skills which have tremendous value on third downs. There’s still room for improvement, but Cox is showing that he could be one of the biggest steals of the .

Young, fast, and talented are proper adjectives to describe Parsons and Cox. The Cowboys have set themselves up nicely at the linebacker position for the foreseeable future, and the fact that these two can do so many things, Quinn has many options on how to utilize their skills and keep offenses guessing on how to defend them.

What do you think?

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Written by Matthew Lenix

I write dope stuff about the Dallas Cowboys and what not.

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2 Comments

  1. Our starting LBs for the next 4-5 years. Parsons is a natural MIKE and Cox is a natural WILL. They will compliment each other well going forward. Options for the 3rd LB after this year resign LVE, go with Gifford if he improves or find another capable one. But Parsons/Cox will be the main two.

  2. Great building blocks for our defense, and much needed. I hoped we drafted MP, and we kinda lucked out in a way when the two top CBs were gone, and we worked out that trade to get him. I think we got a real steal with JC in fourth.

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