Brandon Wade/Associated Press
Let the Micah Parsons era officially begin in Dallas.
The Dallas Cowboys agreed to terms on a fully guaranteed four-year deal with their first-round pick on Wednesday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Financial terms were not immediately disclosed.
The Cowboys selected Parsons with the No. 12 overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft and immediately shored up a position of need. After all, they declined to exercise Leighton Vander Esch’s fifth-year option and finished an ugly 28th in the league in points allowed during the 2020 campaign.
Improving that defense was the team’s top priority during the draft, as Dallas took a defensive player with each of its first six picks.
Parsons was the headliner of that group, though, and for good reason.
The 22-year-old was dominant at Penn State after arriving as a 5-star prospect, per 247Sports‘ composite rankings, and tallied 82 tackles, four tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks during the 2018 campaign.
He was even better in 2019 as one of the best defensive players in all of college football with 109 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, five sacks, five passes defended, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Parsons was at his best in the most notable games of that season, posting 14 tackles in a win over Michigan; 10 tackles, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble in a loss to Ohio State; and 14 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in the Cotton Bowl win over Memphis.
The linebacker opted out of the 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t drastically alter his draft status.
Now that he is officially signed, he can focus on parlaying his impressive collegiate career into a professional one as he looks to help turn the Cowboys defense around in 2021 and beyond.
Dallas has missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and will need to make strides on defense to change that. Whether Parsons lives up to expectations will likely go a long way toward determining if it can do so.