The Dallas Cowboys might be realizing in training camp how impactful Micah Parsons could be heading into the 2021 season.

When the team drafted him in the first round of the draft, many saw it as one of the biggest steals of the draft. Just one year prior, Parsons was considered one of the best defensive players in the draft and a potential top-five pick. He decided to skip the 2020 college football season with Penn State to focus on the draft. The move might have hurt his draft status, but it might have been a blessing in disguise.

During the draft, new Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn wanted to add more of a 3-4 defensive scheme than his typical 4-3, Cover 3 style. This news made the 12th overall pick of Parsons a sensible pick with the change of playbook. Parsons is a perfect fit for a 3-4 defensive scheme with his athleticism, speed, and ability to get to the quarterback.

One of the top topics of training camp has been the impressive play of Parsons. He’s already caught the eye of his head coach Mike McCarthy as well as Quinn.

“What was nice about the spring was to be able to go through practices, you had a chance to see where some of his strengths lie,” Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said. “So that was a good piece for me as we went through the spring and then through the summer that I could negotiate and look at some packages and see how could we feature him in some ways. … To his credit, he has worked hard. There are very few busts on his end.”

It appears to be Parsons is performing so well that McCarthy knows how important of a key piece he’s going to be on defense.

“He needs to play opening day,” McCarthy said. “You have to trust what your eyes are telling you. And when I watch him, I see a fluid and explosive player. This game’s not too big for him. Some guys run 4.3. Some guys play 4.3. He’s the kind of guy who plays fast. He looks like he’s done this at this level before.”

Where Micah Parsons Fits Into Cowboys Defense

With Dak Prescott at quarterback, fans know how good the offense is going to be for Dallas this season. The problem has been the defense and it’s been a continuing problem for multiple seasons. The Cowboys defense was ranked 28th in the league in points allowed, 27th in passing touchdowns allowed, and 31st in rushing yards allowed.

A lot of the problems could be focused on the fact that the team struggled to get to the quarterback as well as their linebacking core. DeMarcus Lawrence led the team in sacks with just 6.5. The linebacking core including Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith struggled with miss tackles and a lack of understanding of Mike Nolan’s defensive scheme.

All these problems resulted in the Cowboys making the leap to draft a top-five talent in Parsons. Dallas needs him on the field making plays as he has in training camp. While he’s not the best player on his defense, he continues to impress and improve. His coverage skills have been noted as getting better throughout camp. He’s done nothing but fly around to the ball and make plays.

Their defense has held the team back from becoming a championship team. Fans know what the offense can do so it all comes down to the defense. McCarthy and Quinn are hoping their young linebackers will improve their play. What will help the unit improve is having a versatile player like Parsons.

Cowboy fans should be ready to have a guy like Parsons who has the potential to be a favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Photo featured by Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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