Dallas Cowboys first Unanimous Defensive Rookie of the Year. Check. Back-to-Back First-team All-Pro selections. Check. Pro Bowl selections. It goes without saying.
The Cowboys all-world defender accomplished a lot in his short career, but one individual accolade has escaped Micah Parsons – The Defensive Player of the Year award.
Last season, San Francisco 49ers Defensive End Nick Bosa secured that distinction.
As if Parsons needed additional motivation, the disparity in 1st place votes has left a lasting scar. While he was second in the overall race, four other players not named Micah received a first-place vote.
Micah Parsons has taken a page out of the Michael Jordan handbook.
What most fans can appreciate about Micah is that he is so young but very dedicated to his craft.
The path Michael Jordan took to win his first NBA finals was well documented. He took a beating from the Detroit Pistons for multiple playoffs but finally accepted the reality that beating a bully helps if you are stronger than them.
Michael Jordan was in the weight room those summers, and the Dallas Cowboys star now lives in the lab.
Parsons is committed to adding weight, as highlighted below, and to the defensive edge position.
I haven’t always been a fan of him playing predominantly on the edge, but I cannot argue with the results. According to Pro Football Focus, 91 pressures, 61 hurries, 15 hits, and 14 sacks in 2022 are all the proof needed.
Micah Parsons is poised for another increase in statistics which may propel him to the top defensive player award this season.
Fully embracing the defensive end position will help both the team and his personal accomplishments. Since 2012, 5 of the last 11 defensive players of the year were edge players.
If you throw in T.J. Watt from 2021, that number increases to 6.
That’s a 55% clip. Why is that the case?
It’s simple. The defensive end position is arguably the most glamorous position on the defense. The sacks and tackles for losses are crowd-pleasers.
That position is the counterpunch to those elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
In Parsons’ case, he has been playing the position consistently at an elite level but at a linebacker’s weight. Going from even 245 lbs. to 255 lbs. will do wonders playing against naturally bigger offensive linemen.
It will be a plus for his chances of getting the DPOY award.
Micah Parsons will have some new friends to help him out on the Dallas Cowboys defensive line.
The Dallas Cowboys want to capitalize on their elite defensive playmaker. They were intentional pre-draft and, in the draft, to surround Micah with more talent.
The defensive personnel size has increased due to this season’s top draft choice Mazi Smith. Micah’s odds are looking good before the season, but they will only improve.
The last two award recipients had solid interior defensive line play. For Bosa, he had Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw, among others. T.J. Watt had Casey Heyward and Stephon Tuitt. They had space eaters to allow them to run free.
Parsons will have that same luxury this season. In addition to Smith, a healthy Jonathan Hankins is returning, and Osa Odighizuwa with another year of experience.
The acquisition of Stephon Gilmore should make quarterbacks hold the ball just a tick longer than they would prefer.
That is a perfect storm for Micah. He is the lead man on a defense that will likely rank in the top five. His sack production will explode past 15 because of the additional single blocks he’ll see.
His chances of becoming the 2nd player on the Dallas Cowboys to win the top defensive award are looking better each waking moment.