It is draft season for the Dallas Cowboys, and there will surely be a handful of different names thrown around in consideration for the team’s top-10 draft pick. With needs at offensive line and all over the defense, everybody has an opinion on what the Cowboys should prioritize.

In recent mock drafts, we have seen multiple draftniks send an offensive tackle the Cowboys’ way. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler sees Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater being the pick, while NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah’s has Oregon’s Penei Sewell falling to Dallas.

With the uncertainty surrounding Tyron Smith’s health and the inconsistent play from the offensive line in 2020, there is certainly an argument to be made that the Cowboys should beef up the trenches. Others would argue that offensive line is not an immediate need and that improving the defense is more important.

Cornerback has been the popular pick for the Cowboys in regards to defense. Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II are considered to be the top two prospects at the position. 2017 draft picks Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Xavier Woods are all entering free agency, so it would make sense for Dallas to prioritize defensive backs.

Defensive line and linebacker are two other positions of need for the Cowboys. Alabama’s Christian Barmore is an early favorite to be the top interior defensive lineman selected, but there are questions on whether or not he is worthy of a top-10 pick. Without NFL Combine drills and private workouts, it may be difficult for Barmore’s stock to soar up enough to be in consideration, unless the Cowboys move down.

As for linebacker, there are a few different prospects that have come off the board in the first-round of different mocks. Among those include Penn State’s Micah Parsons, Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and Tulsa’s Zaven Collins.

Parsons hints where he wants to play.

Micah Parsons
Oct 19, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) reacts to a defensive play against the Michigan Wolverines during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It is important to take everything that a prospect says during the pre-draft process with a grain of salt. Players grow up fans of different teams, may want to stay close to where they grew up or attended college, or would like to live in specific market or city.

Still, it is always interesting when a top prospect outright says where they prefer to play professionally. That was the case on Saturday when former Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons was answering a Q&A on his Instagram story and said this:

via micahparsons11/IG

Because he opted out of the 2020 college football season, Parsons’ final game at Penn State was in the 2019 Cotton Bowl Classic against Memphis inside AT&T Stadium. He made seven tackles and recorded two sacks in the game.

Parsons is rated as the 13th overall prospect in this year’s draft class, per Dane Brugler’s most updated rankings. Brugler describes the former 5-star recruit as “an excellent ball hunter”:

Parsons is an excellent ball hunter due to his vision and agility near the line of scrimmage, also displaying exceptional sideline range. He needs to improve his maturity (on and off the field), spacing and anticipation in coverage, but the athleticism and budding awareness are there.

As good as Parsons is, it is difficult to see the Dallas Cowboys taking an off-ball linebacker in the first-round. There is a need at the position with Jaylon Smith’s struggles and Leighton Vander Esch’s injury history, but it would not be the best use of resources to address with a top-10 pick.

Our own Mauricio Rodriguez broke down why it would be a mistake for the Cowboys to take the former Penn State linebacker.

For example, PFF has followed baseball’s sabermetricians’ steps in developing a “WAR” stat. WAR, which stands for Wins Above Replacement, determines how good a player is and compares it to how his team would do with an “average” player in his place. PFF has found that while linebackers are important, the player-to-player variability isn’t enough to make it one of the most important positions in football.

Considering the Dallas Cowboys will be in a position to upgrade the cornerback position with top prospects such as Caleb Fairley (Virginia Tech) or Patrick Surtain (Alabama), upgrading the cornerback position would make way more sense.

Simply put: linebackers are to the defense as running backs are to the offense. The position is very reliant on their surroundings, so spending premium resources is not the best idea for a team with so many other — and frankly more important — needs.

As good as Parsons was at Penn State, it would not make much sense for Dallas to draft him with their first-round draft selection.

There is hope that simplifying the defensive scheme and addressing the interior of the defensive line would result in better linebacker play from Smith and Vander Esch for the Cowboys next season. Parsons does not much of any film in coverage, so he would not provide any kind of upgrade in that area, either.

All in all, the Dallas Cowboys would be better off using their top draft pick elsewhere, even if Micah Parsons is very talented.

Featured image via Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports