by Dallas Cowboys Mailbag, Nick Eatman & Jonny Auping
When Micah Parsons was drafted, he was viewed as a linebacker who, along with adding big bodies to the defensive line and a new scheme, was going to be able to fix our rushing defense. Now I'm hearing he is going to be used as a designated pass rusher? Is that accurate, and what is your take? - ZACH BECKHAM / SAN ANTONIO, TX
Nick: Just make plays. That's why he was drafted No. 12 overall. He isn't going to be rushing every snap - but he looks like a guy who can. He will be playing traditional linebacker as well and it'll help if the defensive tackle spot is improved so that can free him up to run around. But when you take a guy that high in the draft, it's because he can do multiple things.
Jonny: Micah Parsons has the athleticism and instincts to potentially be able to do anything you could possibly ask a linebacker to do. You don't know that any draft pick will live up to his potential until we see him play regular-season games. But what makes Parsons a safer pick than some would be that, at the very least, he can be a successful designated pass rusher in his rookie season. You'd want him to develop into even more than that, and perhaps he'll take on a bigger role early, but that role alone could improve the defense.
I haven't seen anything about how Jabril Cox is doing in the OTAs and minicamp. What are your thoughts on his progression during these early stages of practice? - EUGENE ESSEX / SUN PRAIRIE, WI
Nick: A little early right now but he made some plays in the rookie minicamp. But out here in the full-team minicamp, he hasn't stood out as much. But I would imagine he will play a role similar to Keanu Neal. That wouldn't be a bad guy for him to back up. I would imagine Cox is a guy that shows up in the preseason games. I wouldn't worry about him at all.
Jonny: Cox doesn't stand out to me the way Parsons does, but that's why he was drafted in the fourth round instead of the first. Parsons' natural athleticism makes him look like an NFL player among NFL players before the pads even come on. But Cox has a strength and skill set that will eventually show up, I think. He is great in pass coverage for a linebacker, and that's what you want in the current NFL. I'm not worried about Cox. I imagine we'll start saying some good things about him in due time.