For a while there during the 2021 season, it looked as if the Dallas Cowboys would end up with both defensive rookie of the year. And the Defensive player of the year.
The do-it-all first-year Dallas quarterback Micah Parsons was the rookie’s honor, even claiming the overall award, while cornerback Trevon Diggs, in his sophomore season, was the league’s standout ball-hawking defender. Unfortunately, Diggs didn’t get a single vote for DPOY at the end of the year. Meanwhile, Parsons saw five out of 50 votes, losing to TJ Watt of Pittsburgh, but beating Rams Aaron Donald.
Entering his second season, Parsons is pinning high hopes on himself and Diggs, a pair who believes he can rival Donald and his Los Angeles partner Galen Ramsey in the near future.
“It’s hard to say we’re the best because I know we’re young and we still make mistakes,” Parsons said. Jory Epstein from USA Today Sports. “It’s hard to put us up against Aaron Donald, the greatest defensive player in history, with Galen Ramsey. So I’m not going to do that yet.
“But I think we can become them or even better if we learn together and stick together.”
Donald and Ramsey, defending champions with the Ramseys, haven’t played together throughout their careers as Parsons and Diggs in their short time together — Ramsey spent his first three seasons in Jacksonville — but the two are indisputably one of the league’s best defensive duos. Donald is a seven-time All-Pro Player, three-time defensive Player of the Year and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-2010s, and Ramsey, who does not spoil himself, is a three-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler. Both have signed contracts to establish the market in the past two years.
But Parsons and Diggs have joined those two teams this season as the All-Pros, neither of whom is over 23 years old. Parsons was among the top six in the sacks and tackled a loss and boasted the highest compression ratio in QB (21.1) of the Next Generation Stats Era. The linebacker scored 13 sacks despite being quick to pass only 52.9 percent of defensive shots (the 260th in the NFL).
At the back end, the Diggs led the Pros with 11 picks, the most NFLer picks since Lester Hayes in 1980 (13). The corner has been a snooze all season, though, for being a boom or bust ball hawk. He led the league in receiving yards allowed in coverage (1016).
“That’s what makes a player him: his confidence and his willingness to chase the ball,” Parsons said of Diggs. “I’ve seen a lot of corner kicks not giving up yards, but their teams not winning games. This league is about how many times you can get the ball back, and you get the ball back with the spins. Any day of the week.”