Micah Parsons wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy more than anything, and now the Penn State linebacker has gotten his wish. The team selected him with the No. 12 pick back in April, mostly due to his tremendous versatility.
Apparently, that versatility is already on full display at the team’s rookie minicamp.
Nick Eatman and Rob Phillips, two beat writers with DallasCowboys.com, recently dove into how the team has been utilizing Parsons — at least so far. Whether in a traditional off-ball linebacker role or letting him rush the quarterback off the edge, Parsons can affect the run and passing games.
Micah Parsons will likely do a little bit of everything at the linebacker position, from box work to rushing in certain packages, and that was on display Saturday. The first-round pick showed explosiveness diagnosing and busting up a couple of run plays, and he also got past fourth-round pick Josh Ball on one play while rushing from the left edge.
Considering the physical makeup of Parsons, it’s easy to see why Dallas would want to use him in as many roles as possible. At 6-foot-3, 246 pounds, the former five-star defensive end is as physically gifted as they come.
He posted a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash while also producing a 34-inch vertical and 19 reps of 225 pounds. His 10-6 broad jump was also impressive, but either way, the Cowboys understand they have a player capable of doing a lot of different things.
With new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn now in the fold, what was once a liability should now become a strength. The defense should field an improved defensive line, but the second-level talent with Parsons, Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith and Jabril Cox should be the biggest difference-maker.
Outside of Dak Prescott’s return from a season-ending leg injury in 2020, the expected improvement from the defense will make the most significant contribution to Dallas competing for the NFC East and making a strong playoff run.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.