Why Micah Parsons was the missing piece for the Dallas Cowboys defense

On draft night the Dallas Cowboys has their eyes on two guys: Jaycee Horn or Patrick Surtain II. Much to their chagrin, both were taken in consecutive picks right before the Cowboys went on the clock at 10.

The Cowboys responded by trading back with Philadelphia Eagles and collecting an extra third in the process. It was a smart move because the Cowboys knew neither the Eagles nor the Giants were interested in their number three on the Dallas Draft Board: Micah Parsons.

As you know, Devonta Smith gets taken first, then the Giants trade back with the Bears and Fields goes of the board as well. Parsons falls right into the lap of Jerry Jones and he pounces. Here’s what the front office had to say on draft night:

“Micah Parsons being there when the corners left was a big thing that we all looked at each other and said ‘There is a difference maker.'” per David Helman

The Dallas Cowboys found an X-Factor when the selected Micah Parsons in the draft.

At Penn State Parsons forced eighteen tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, and forced six fumbles. He was a one man wrecking machine and a rarity of a physical specimen. He ran a 4.39 40- yard dash in the combine which was good for 2nd place among all linebackers in the draft.

Something even more stunning? That was the same speed as WR Kadarius Toney and .05 seconds faster than TE Kyle Pitts.

As a pro, the Dallas Cowboys have taken the full advantage of his speed moving him between linebacker and playing the edge.

Look at the clip above. The lineman didn’t stand a chance. Parsons wasn’t drafted to play as a defensive end but during training camp they decided to switch him over to that position. It’s safe to say that was the correct decision. He already has six sacks through nine games and he has had 3.5 over the last two. This is with him mixing in as a coverage linebacker for the majority of his snaps.

The Dallas Cowboys rookie sacks leader is DeMarcus Ware with eight sacks. Parsons is not far off and he has got a whole lot more time to eclipse that mark. Ware is elite company to be in, a potential first ballot Hall of Famer and a Dallas Cowboys legend.

Micah Parsons is doing things we haven’t seen from anyone in the Cowboys front seven in 10+ years. To be frank, we haven’t had much threats in our front four consistently, much less our front seven.

DeMarcus Lawrence has been solid but inconsistent since his breakout 2017 season when he got 14.5 sacks. That’s not to say Lawrence isn’t dependable though. When he’s back and healthy, having Randy Gregory, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Micah Parsons mixing in and out, offensive lines will be one their heels.

With Trevon Diggs and Anthony Brown playing lockdown corner, Osa Odighizuwa causing havoc in the middle of the D-line, and the future trio of Lawrence, Gregory, and Parsons, this defense is good enough to make a championship push.

Parsons already has the Defensive Rookie of the Year locked down (-160 odds according to MGM), barring an injury Parsons can and will be the reason that the Dallas Cowboys have success in the playoffs.

Micah Parsons’ ability to play both off-ball linebacker and pass-rusher effectively makes him a real X-factor going forward.