PFT’s 2021 NFL defensive rookie of the year: Micah Parsons

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Micah Parsons became the favorite for defensive rookie of the year the day he was drafted. He did not disappoint.

Parsons, the 12th overall choice of Cowboys, was the easiest choice of any award. The linebacker was so good as a rookie that by midseason he had joined the conversation for defensive player of the year.

Parsons was selected unanimously as PFT’s defensive rookie of the year.

He missed the regular-season finale against the Eagles on Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. That denied Parsons a chance to break Javon Kearse’s NFL rookie sacks record.

Parsons finished with 13 sacks, tied for most by a rookie in NFL history. Kearse had 14.5 sacks as a rookie and Aldon Smith 14. Dwight Freeney and Reggie White both had 13.

Parsons also had 84 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and 67 quarterback pressures.

He was all over the place. According to the Cowboys, Parsons had 374 snaps in the defensive line, 498 at linebacker, 29 at cornerback and one at safety.

Parsons made the Pro Bowl and surely will make the All-Pro team, and he’s only just begun.

Dolphins edge rusher Jaelan Phillips, Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton, Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II, Ravens defensive end Odafe Oweh, Chargers cornerbackk Asante Samuel Jr. and Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah were among the other rookie defenders who had productive first seasons. But none came close to having the impact of Parsons in his first season.