At one time, the Cowboys seemed to have one of the best duos at linebacker in the NFL in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. However, Smith’s play declined and he was released last October while Vander Esch has dealt with a plethora of injuries over the years.

That has severely hurt the strength of the linebacker room in Dallas. Enter Micah Parsons, who took the NFL by storm in 2021 while compiling 13 sacks and winning Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The stellar play of Parsons certainly bolstered the Cowboys at linebacker. So much so, that when Pro Football Focus released their rankings of linebacker units, the Cowboys came in at No. 6 on the list.

PFF’s Seth Galina wrote the following in regard to the Cowboys’ linebackers:

“Micah Parsons is one of the best young talents in the league, but he does split his time between off-ball linebacker and edge rusher, where he’s at his best work. He was not as good a coverage or run-stopping linebacker as he was as a pass rusher, but his talent makes you think he will figure it out shortly. Leighton Vander Esch has not lived up to the hype he created for himself after a monstrous rookie season, and so we may see another linebacker eventually fill in for him.”

Outside of Parsons, there’s a lot of uncertainty for the Cowboys at linebacker. Vander Esch was brought back after his fifth-year option was declined by the Cowboys. With his injury history plus a dip in his production, there isn’t a lot of confidence Vander Esch can consistently show something noteworthy.

The Cowboys have two potential young studs at linebacker in Jabril Cox and Damone Clark. However, Cox is coming back from a torn ACL he suffered during his rookie campaign, and Clark’s spinal fusion surgery in March will likely keep him out for his rookie year. Also, there’s Devin Harper, taken in the sixth round in April. Harper has intriguing traits, but special teams will likely be his way onto the roster this season.

Parsons is the main factor in the Cowboys’ place in these rankings. There’s some talent at linebacker in Dallas, but a lot of it is based on potential rather than play on the field which makes this ranking a bit shocking.

Feature image via Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports