Micah Parsons might have unofficially clinched the award months ago, but now the dynamic Cowboys linebacker/defensive end has been formally announced as NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Parsons, who was a unanimous winner, was recognized Thursday night during NFL Honors, the league's primetime awards show airing the week of the Super Bowl each year.
Last year's 12th overall draft pick delivered one of the most dominant rookie seasons in NFL history, setting a franchise rookie record with 13.0 sacks and tying for the NFL lead with 20 tackles for loss, the most by a Cowboys linebacker since Sean Lee in 2017.
"This is all incredible. Thank you to Cowboys Nation," Parsons said on stage during his acceptance speech. "Y'all really believed in me. I couldn't be more thankful."
Parsons as DROY comes as no surprise. Earlier this week, he was the only unanimous pick by a 30-person NFL.com panel predicting all the league awards. And indeed, Parsons' win came by unanimous vote, too.
It's easy to understand why. Not only was Parsons the overwhelming favorite for that award, he also was widely considered a top candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. (That honor went to Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt.) Only one rookie has ever swept both: Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor in 1981.
Parsons emerged as one of the league's most versatile defensive players -- partly out of necessity. In Week 2, when DeMarcus Lawrence broke his foot and Randy Gregory landed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn moved Parsons to full-time defensive end against the Chargers.
Parsons would line up in different spots all season: linebacker, edge rusher, situational blitzer. He became the 12th Cowboys rookie to make the Pro Bowl and the first Cowboys rookie defensive player on The Associated Press' first-team All-Pro squad.
"For a guy to have that kind of production when you're not playing the position full time, I think that speaks to where his future is going from tackles for loss and sacks and impact plays," Quinn said last month. "We plan on him being an excellent player here for a long time and I thought just to kick it off in that fashion for him has been a remarkable start to it.
"He's hungry for it, which is nice because not everybody can handle that kind of versatility and not only at any part of your career, but especially as a rookie. So I definitely tip my hat to him."