When the Cowboys selected Micah Parsons with the 12th overall pick in the draft, it was not without criticism. In the interest of transparency, I was one of the more vocal critics of Pick. There were many reasons to be critical. Even without factoring in his baggage off the field, Parsons played one of the most expendable positions in defense, making the value of taking any off-the-ball linebacker this high questionable at best.
More than that, Parsons’ profile was that of a linebacker who thrives on blitz schemes and gives him less responsibility in passing coverage. Coverage issues have reduced its value in any program as the NFL gets happier and happier every year and being drafted into a team whose new defensive coordinator rarely blitzes made the team fit. from the start. All of this, coupled with the subsequent revelation that Mike McCarthy hadn’t even been present at Parsons’ pre-draft reunion, seemed to cause big problems for the new Cowboy.
But give credit where credit is due: Parsons has put an end to this criticism left and right all summer long, and his start to training camp so far has reinforced that sentiment. By all accounts, Parsons has been one of the biggest stars of training camp so far. Even before the players put on the pads, Parsons was apparently all over the place during team drills, frequently blinking and making an impact.
And to give more credit, Dan Quinn reportedly stuck to his word to make sure Parsons was used in various ways. Returning to rookie camp, Parsons admitted he had seen most of his work at MIKE, but training camp saw Parsons play multiple linebacker positions, come off the rim like a rusher, fall like an outside linebacker. traditional 3-4, and even get some blanket work. While he wasn’t completely perfect, Parsons has been pretty damn close and already seems more comfortable in cover than he ever did at Penn State.
Parsons ‘impressive play at training camp caught all eyes, especially that of McCarthy, who apparently confirmed Parsons’ role as a starter:
“He has to play on day one,” McCarthy said. âYou have to trust what your eyes are telling you. And when I look at him, I see a fluid and explosive player. This game is not too big for him. Some guys are running 4.3. Some guys are playing 4.3. He’s the kind of guy who plays fast. He seems to have done this before at this level.
It’s also worth noting that Parsons did this against an offense that, when in good health, has been one of the best units in the NFL for the past two years. Even with Dak Prescott sitting down, Parsons is up against the likes of Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz, Ezekiel Elliott, and Tony Pollard and continues to do it all. And when Quinn uses him as a rusher, Parsons confronts Tyron Smith.
But the next step is coming for Parsons, and it comes in the form of the Cowboys preseason schedule. It’s unclear how much Parsons will play, but he will have the opportunity to continue to build on the stellar offseason he’s been through. But for now, Parsons can at least take comfort in knowing he’s about to silence many of his draft-day skeptics.