Parsons, a Harrisburg native, may have that snub in the back of his mind when NFC East rivals clash on Monday Night Football on Sept. 27. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder went two spots after Smith, at pick No. 12 to the Dallas Cowboys. He has been the highest-graded rookie through the first two games (via Pro Football Focus), including eight pressures on 27 pass-rushing snaps for a 90.8 pass-rushing grade in Week 2.
The 22-year-old has been a force to be reckoned with for the Cowboys, splitting time at linebacker and edge rusher. Parsons has the attitude to match his aggressive style of play, too. On Wednesday (Sept. 22), the first-rounder told reporters that he intends to play the role of “Terminator” this week and every week. And his thermal scope is set squarely on Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.
“Every quarterback (we face this season) is on the hit list. I want all of them,” Parsons told reporters, per The Athletic’s Jon Machota. “(Jalen) Hurts is on the hit list now, too. You got to look at it like you’re trying to be like The Terminator out there.”
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Eagles ‘Ready’ for Parsons on Sunday
The Cowboys’ defense has been shaky to start the year, giving up 419.5 yards and 24.0 points per game. Their best pass rusher, DeMarcus Lawrence, is out six to eight weeks with a broken foot. One bright spot has been Parsons who has nine total tackles and one sack.
It’s rare for opposing teams to game-plan around rookies, but the Eagles clearly have Parsons on their radar heading into this one. Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen didn’t hesitate when asked about No. 11.
“He’s a heck of a player. He had a lot of pressures last week against the Chargers,” Steichen told reporters on Wednesday (Sept. 22). “He comes off the ball. He’s got a lot of speed, you can see it on film. Good on the edge, he’s good inside, too, as well. So, he’s going to be a heck of a challenge for us. We got to know where he’s at on the field, be ready for these guys. We’re ready.”
So, What About DeVonta Smith?
The Eagles can’t complain too much about the way the first round rolled out for them in April’s draft. They prioritized the wide-receiver position in the offseason and stuck to their draft board. In fact, general manager Howie Roseman traded up two spots – from No. 12 to No. 10, via the Dallas Cowboys – to grab Smith.
The former Alabama standout has mostly lived up the hype following an injury-plagued preseason. Smith burst on the scene in Week 1 by making six catches for 71 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. His encore performance in Week 2 wasn’t quite as stellar: two receptions for 16 yards, although he had seven targets.
“I thought he played all right. Obviously, there’s certain things we can all get better from,” Steichen said. “Obviously, as coaches, we got to get better, myself included. We all got to get better. We had some 50-50 balls to him that were up in the air. And, obviously, we can do some other little things with him going forward just like we can with everybody else.”