The 2022 NFL Honors announced the winner of the Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Dallas Cowboys rookie Micah Parsons took home the award. Parsons has been the odds-on favorite for most of the season and was so impressive that he was also being considered for Defensive Player of the Year. Ultimately, that honor went to season-long sack leader T.J. Watt. Parsons was also unanimously selected for Defensive Rookie of the Year in PFN’s annual awards.
Micah Parsons wins NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
Looking back to the 2021 NFL Draft, there were several questions surrounding what the Cowboys were going to do with their pick. The general consensus was that they were targeting a cornerback to help bolster their secondary. However, with Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II coming off the board, Dallas ultimately selected Penn State LB Parsons.
It turned out well for Dallas — Parsons went on to help reshape one of the league’s worst defenses from last season. The Cowboys went from allowing an average of 386.4 yards per game to 351, ranking seventh in the NFL in points allowed per game. The defense performed so well that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was considered a hot head coaching candidate during this year’s cycle but decided to return to the Cowboys.
Parsons’ impressive numbers and recognition so far
Parsons has been an absolute force when on the field this season. On 35 targets and 295 coverage snaps, Parsons didn’t allow a touchdown and conceded just 7.6 yards per reception. Moreover, he generated a franchise rookie record 13 sacks (sixth-most) and tied the NFL lead with 20 tackles for loss, the most by a Cowboys linebacker since Sean Lee in 2017.
Parsons won back-to-back NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month awards for November and December, becoming the first Cowboys player on offense or defense to win multiple Rookie of the Month awards.
Parsons also made a name for himself at this year’s Pro Bowl. In a race with speedsters like Tyreek Hill and Nick Chubb, Parsons outran both to earn the title “Fastest Man in the NFL.” He thanked Chubb after the race for challenging him and igniting his competitive side.
“You know he challenged me. And the lion was hungry. You know what I mean? I can’t back down from no challenge. Nick wanted it, so he got it.”
Parsons also seemed to be the only player on the field during the actual Pro Bowl game to want to tackle the opponent. Late in the second quarter, he chased down and strip-sacked Patrick Mahomes in what many considered to be a friendly game of touch football.