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Where Does Micah Parsons’ Rookie Season Stack Up Against Lawrence Taylors?

It’s not a shock to anyone to say that Micah Parsons is exceeding all expectations and performing at an elite level. Not just an elite level for a rookie, an elite level for anybody in the NFL. In my 20 or so years of watching football, the only other NFC East rookie I’ve seen completely change the complexion of his team’s attack on that side of the ball is Robert Griffin III.

I know that’s a distant memory now, but google his rookie highlights and be thankful the Cowboys haven’t had to face that version of RG3 two times a year since 2012.

Just like the addition of RG3 completely changed the Washington Redskins’ 26th ranked offensive attack that featured Rex Grossman the season prior, Micah Parsons is completely changing the Cowboys’ defense that was the worst in team history last year.

He does everything on the defensive side of the ball and he does it well. It doesn’t matter if he is asked to line up at linebacker or defensive end, he makes his impact felt on nearly every play. He even lined up at cornerback last week against the Giants, making a play on what could have been a Kenny Golladay touchdown catch.

By now we’ve all heard the various broadcasting crews across the NFL throw out the Lawrence Taylor comparisons for Micah during Cowboys games, and it’s easy to see why. Parsons already has the Defensive Rookie of the Year award wrapped up and it’s not particularly close.

There is also a legitimate case to be made that he is the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, something that only the previously mentioned Lawrence Taylor achieved as a rookie.

Let’s dive into the numbers and compare Taylor’s legendary rookie season with where Parsons currently stands through 14 games.

Taylor suited up for all 16 games as a rookie, racking up 133 total tackles, 9.5 sacks, two forced fumbles (one recovered), one interception, and eight passes defended. This was enough to earn him 1st-Team All-Pro honors and kicked off a streak of six straight seasons where the Giants reached the post-season.

Through 14 games this season, Parsons currently has 76 total tackles (57 solo), 12 sacks, three forced fumbles, and 17 tackles for loss. Even when he’s not sacking the QB he’s been wreaking havoc, racking up 41 pressures and 27 QB hits. Parsons has been excellent in coverage as well, as he’s broken up three passes and has held opposing QBs to a passer rating of 81.9 on passes thrown in his direction.

If you extrapolate those numbers out to a 17 game season this comes out to 93 total tackles, 14.5 sacks, and 22 tackles for loss. To date, Parsons has only played 85% of the team’s total snaps, so there is room for those numbers to increase even higher.

When you look at how quickly the Cowboys defense has turned around with Parsons leading the way, combined with his overall raw stats, I think that it is safe to say that he deserves to be firmly in the discussion for Defensive Player of the Year, and I would argue he should be the frontrunner.

No other player makes as big of an impact in so many different ways. The sky is truly the limit for Parsons, and he is just getting started.

What do you think?

2 Comments

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  1. The comparison is rookie to rooki years, so they are pretty close. Hopefully Parson will continue to grow as a player and avoids the on the field / off the field problems that unfortunately LT experienced.

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