When the Dallas Cowboys missed out on cornerbacks Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn in the first round of the NFL Draft, many thought they would take Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern to provide depth on the offensive line. However, only trading back two spots from 10 to 12, the Cowboys added a nuclear weapon to the linebacker position by selecting Micah Parsons out of Penn State.
Parsons is expected to be a major contributor right off the bat, but with his ability to do so many things the question remained at which linebacker spot would he make the most impact. When he addressed the media on Thursday as he prepares for rookie mini-camp this weekend, Parsons dropped this nugget on where he'll begin putting in work.
“Right now I'm at MIKE linebacker,” said Parsons, via the team's website. “Looking at the playbook, this is a position for me to go sideline to sideline and make a lot of plays and really stop that run.”
Stopping the run is something the Cowboys desperately need to do this season after finishing 31st in that category in 2020.
The middle linebacker spot is where Leighton Vander Esch was expected to resume his role this season. That could still happen, but for now, Parsons will hold down that spot. Adding in Jaylon Smith, Keanu Neal, and fellow rookie Jabril Cox gives the Cowboys a plethora of options to play with at linebacker in 2021.
Parsons will have the biggest spotlight on him this weekend as he puts on the blue and silver for the first time, and when asked what he can show the coaching staff, albeit in shorts and helmets, he had this to say.
“Just how good I'm moving. Show them that I'm grasping the playbook really fast,” Parsons said. “Not trying to make the same mistakes twice. Keep learning and growing. That's the only thing I can do right now, get better every day and leave the rest to itself.
The former Nittany Lion won't have to wait long to face elite competition. Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on deck for Week 1. Also, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, the high-powered offense of the Atlanta Falcons which features fourth overall pick, Kyle Pitts, and several of the league's top running backs will face the Cowboys defense this season.
Parsons seemed eager to get on the field when asked about the Cowboy's schedule in 2021.
“I was, like, ‘Wow,'” Parsons said. “It's definitely weird coming into the NFL. You've got Tom Brady in the first game, then you've got Patrick Mahomes down the line. I said, ‘We've got all the nice running backs.' I said, ‘That's cool. Whatever. Can't do nothing about it.' Got to play ball no matter what, right?”
The expectations are through the roof for Parsons and his NFL journey is set to get underway this weekend.