“I thought it was funny,” Parsons told reporters after being selected, via SI.com. “We’re going to get after it every day. He’s one of the top five backs in the league … I’m going to push him every day, and that’s how it’s going to be.”
The Cowboys, after agreeing to a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, nabbed Parsons — arguably the top defender in the 2021 class — at No. 12 overall last Thursday.
Minutes later, Elliott took to Twitter, blasting out to his 2.1 million followers a (friendly) jab toward the ex-Penn State linebacker.
Parsons, to his credit, did not — and will not — back down.
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Jokes aside, Elliott resurfaced Parsons’ checkered past at State College, where a disturbing string of off-field issues damaged his stock and sent him spiraling out of the top-10. The accusations against the 21-year-old (and others) are particularly graphic. Details first came to light in a 2020 civil lawsuit filed by a former player:
“Players would allegedly regularly pin younger teammates to the floor and simulate ‘a humping action while on top’ or place their ‘genitals on the face of the lower classmen.’ One of the players would place a ‘penis on the buttocks of the lower classmen and stroke his genitalia, simulating the action of ejaculation.'”
Although the pick drew some condemnation from analysts, Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones claimed the organization did a “tremendous amount of homework” on Parsons throughout the scouting process. For his part, the former consensus All-American tried to mitigate concerns during pre- and post-draft interviews.
“They did all their background checks, and I let them know the truth,” Parsons said last Thursday. “There’s nothing pending against me. Everything was dropped and all that type of stuff. They were false allegations. I never got to speak on my name because it’s hard to say that while you’re in the process, but obviously, they did their background. They know I’m not a character concern at all. I think I’m a great person, and I’m going to keep becoming a better father and person every day, not only for myself but for my entire family. And Cowboys nation, now I got to represent them every day too.”
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Parsons will be a day-one starter for a Cowboys defense that desperately needed the talent infusion it received this offseason. He’s expected to see starting reps opposite Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, whose fifth-year contract option the team recently declined.
Together, on paper, they form an imposing linebacker troika. And, in reality, health willing, an impactful troika, as well — flipping a glaring weakness into a potential overwhelming strength.
“If all three of us can find a way to play together and stay healthy, it will be something scary,” Parsons told reporters.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL