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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Patrick Andres

Cowboys DB Sets Lofty Expectation for Micah Parsons in 2023

Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons's first two seasons have gone about as well as Dallas could've hoped.

In 2021, he was Defensive Rookie of the Year, an All-Pro and a Pro Bowler. In 2022, he was an All-Pro and a Pro Bowler once again.

However, one accolade has eluded the Penn State product. Parsons has been runner-up in the AP Defensive Player of the Year voting twice, but has yet to win the award. Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt won it in '21 and 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa won in '22.

Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse, however, believes Parsons is capable of changing that this season.

“I expect a Defensive Player of the Year type of year from him. Hands down. If I was a betting guy, my money is on him,” Kearse said, per Jon Machota of The Athletic. “I’ve just seen the way he’s come in this year, different than the previous two. He has the ability to wreck a game at any given moment when he wants to. The type of impact I’m expecting him to have is not only for the defense, but for the team is tremendous.”

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Parsons and Kearse both started in Dallas in ’21: Parsons as the No. 12 pick in that year’s draft, and Kearse as a free agent in March.

Despite having a few years on Parsons, Kearse recognizes that the Harrisburg, Pa. native is what makes the Cowboys’ defense tick.

“His mentality in how he’s attacking things this year, it’s much different than I’ve seen in his previous years. He comes in like, ‘I’m the lion.’ He lives like that throughout the day, throughout the week, just like, ‘I’m the baddest guy out here,’” Kearse said. “He has shown that. That’s the biggest difference I’ve seen from him.”

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