As the loudest and most outspoken critic of linebacker Micah Parsons in America, I wanted to come out before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers and tell the football world – – the Dallas Cowboys are making a huge mistake moving Parsons to defensive end.
Parsons looked like an oversized safety trying to play linebacker to begin with against Tampa Bay. Now they are moving him to play in the trenches where he will have to contend with even bigger players?
Whenever Parsons went down low in the box at the line of scrimmage against the big boys, he got his ass kicked.
Prior to this year’s draft, I came out prior and labeled Parsons as an “unexplosive underachiever.” At best in my professional opinion, Parsons is a freelance linebacker who has to be allowed to roam and hunt in space uncontested, where he can use his playing speed and range to make plays when he wants to. He struggles within any defensive scheme to conform, which is part of why I believe he shuts it down and takes his foot off the gas way too often – – and also explains why Dallas played him in sub packages last week.
Parsons lacks both the pure weight and physical strength to match up against the pure size of offensive tackles in the NFL. Parsons showed no pop or twitch against Tampa’s offensive linemen at the initial point of attack. He was soft and applied no real pressure in any of his pass rushing attempts.
There is no way Parsons will be able to rush the Chargers’ offensive tackles featuring first rounder Rashawn Slater, who handled Washington’s Chase Young in week one, just like he did when he played him in college. If anything, Los Angeles will throw around Parsons like he is a rag doll where he is giving up 50-100 pounds to every offensive lineman on the field. Slater looks like a sure-fire Pro Bowler, maybe even a Hall of Famer, good luck.
On the other side of the offensive line is right tackle Storm Norton, who Parsons will probably spend most of his time messing around with since that is where Lawrence played.
Let’s examine this “heavy-weight” match-up. Norton is 6-foot-7, 317 pounds vs. Parsons 6-foot-3, 245 pounds. Norton also gave up one sack in 2020.
This has got to be one of the worst decisions I have ever seen Dallas make. I understand the move is necessitated by the recent injury to star defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, but come on…
The only thing Parsons has going for him is his speed and athleticism and there is also the risk is injury.
This is a desperate move – – an unprecedented move at that. I do not think in my 40 years of watching the game, I have ever seen an NFL team move a linebacker to defensive end driven by an injury. This game is all about matchups and this is a bad match-up.
You do not believe me? Take a look into the NFL’s crystal ball below where I provide 11 game film illustrations. I am not making this stuff up – – I could not even make this stuff up if I tried. Here is the crystal ball Parsons put on game film:
Where is the depth in Dallas?
The last time Parsons played defensive end was in high school. Guess what – – this is not high school. This is called the National Football League.
Parsons is not Tank. Parsons does not play with Tank’s raw passion, aggression. intensity, strength or physicality. Parsons does not at all have Tank’s pure power. Offensive linemen barely feel Parsons when he hits them – – whereas Tank is animal.
What next – – will the kicker be moved to wide receiver in Dallas?
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.