Jerry Jones loves getting the best of something. So, when the best tight end, offensive lineman, and then finally cornerback came off the board, Jerry and company decided to zone in on the linebacker position. After cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain went back-to-back at picks eight and nine, the Cowboys decided to trade back a couple spots to grab some Day 2 draft capital. Dallas gave up pick 10 to the Philadelphia Eagles, helping the green birds jump ahead of the New York Giants to select Alabama's wide receiver Devonta Smith. In return, the Eagles gave the Cowboys pick 12 as well as a third-round pick at 84 overall. That's a pretty good deal to get a player they likely would've taken at 10 anyways.
With the 12th overall pick, the Cowboys selected Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons. He will now join Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, who have both earned Pro Bowl honors already in their short career; however, each of them have had their own share of struggles this past season. Parsons now gives the team a fresh new body at the position. It might seem like the team is using an abundance of resources at the position, but the Cowboys aren't going to pass up on a talent like Parsons while they wait to see how things turn out with their veterans. They decided to act, and act in a big way.
Parsons gives Dallas a super freak athlete. He runs a 4.36 40-yards dash, which is even faster than both the cornerback targets, Horn and Surtain. He's super twitchy so he can change directions well and has the speed to run players down. He has strong hands and is a strong finisher. Adding Parsons immediately gives them a three-down linebacker as he won't come off the field, so say goodbye to third-down Jaylon.
It's not all sunshine and rainbows with Parsons though. Sometimes, he gets a little tunnel vision, focusing on the ball, and doesn't have a good sense for other things going on around him. He doesn't read blocks well as he sort of phases blockers out. This lack of awareness can take him out of plays at times. These mental lapses are also costly in coverage as his inability to diagnose the play wastes some of that special athlecism. And then there are maturity issues as he was involved in hazing incident.
Fortunately, all these flaws are coachable, and new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will get a shot to turn this collegiate star into an NFL star as they attempt to fix the teams defensive problems. Certainly, there is more work to be done, but this is a nice way to begin when it comes to fixing the defense.
Knowing they had to improve the defense in this draft, this has to feel comforting to use it's top draft resource on the defensive side of the ball. Dallas had the second-worst run defense in the league last year and gave up five yards a carry. In a draft that doesn't feature any elite run-stopping defensive tackles, the team opted to attack this weakness the best way they knew how, and that meant selecting Parsons.
The Cowboys still have 10 picks left in this draft, which is plenty of dancing chips to continue to address their defensive needs. They have a total of four picks on Day 2, including three different third-round picks thanks to the Eagles trade. This should give the team sufficient draft capital to address needs in their secondary as well as along the defensive line. For a team that needs a lot of help, the opportunity is there to really attack the defense.
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