The NFL's top 100 players of 2022, voted on by the players themselves, concluded this past Sunday with Micah Parsons revealed as the highest-rated Cowboy at no. 16.
CeeDee Lamb (95), Tyron Smith (92), Zack Martin (68), Dak Prescott (44), and Trevon Diggs (23) also landed on the list. The unanimous defensive rookie of the year made his first appearance on the list as a rookie; he topped some impressive players who have made an impact in the league for several years.
In his first season as a pro, Parsons made the Pro Bowl, was a first-team All-Pro, DROY, and finished second in voting for AP Defensive Player of the year. He set the bar extremely high for his rookie season and has challenged himself to be even better.
Micah Parsons is No. 16 on the @nflnetwork NFL Top 100 list
(Video: @NFL) pic.twitter.com/iH7GUy3Ps4
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 29, 2022
Parsons registered 84 total tackles, 20 of those were for a loss, 13 sacks, three forced fumbles, three pass breakups, and 30 quarterback hits. His goal for this upcoming season? To break the Cowboys sack record, set by DeMarcus Ware with 20 in 2008. Parsons has publicly spoken about breaking the sack record and will not settle for anything less than 15.
With the addition of Anthony Barr, Parsons might have room for growth. Even if Barr plays 60% of the snaps, when he is in the game, it will allow Parsons to line up anywhere he wants, create pressure, and not worry about the lack of coverage from the linebacker position. Barr is not the most excellent cover LB, but he is better than anyone else they could have brought in. He is an upgrade on the depth chart, and it helps the best thing about this team and adds veteran leadership to that side of the football, which can be huge for Dan Quinn.
Defense is the key to this season's success, and Parsons will need to be the player he was a season ago. Finishing second in the defensive player of the year ranking as a rookie is no joke, and the future is bright for him as long as he stays healthy. By the time he retires, he will have both the Cowboys' single-season and all-time sack record.
My official predictions of Parsons for next season are 95 total tackles, 17.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one interception. He will finish as a first-team All-Pro and second in the defensive player of the year voting for the second consecutive year, only behind either Aaron Donald or T.J. Watt. Parsons can only do so much, but the defense goes as he goes, and they feed off his energy, and for a second-year player to already have that type of impact on a team speaks volumes.
The sky is his limit; I hope he does not get distracted by being a weekly guest on Fox Sports Undisputed. This idea might have been better during the off-season, but I hope the best player on the defense does not get sidetracked by this.