DALLAS — The comparisons between Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker Micah Parsons and Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor have been circulating for the past few weeks.
Understandably, some former players have eschewed the comparisons, and even Parsons has rejected being compared to Taylor on the field.
However, former Cowboys cornerback Everson Walls joined "The Nosebleeds" on 105.3 "The Fan" on Monday and endorsed comparisons between Parsons and the two-time Super Bowl champion Hall of Famer.
"The way that this young man is doing it, being one of the fastest guys on your team, and I think what stands him apart from other great linebackers is that, not that he can come from the left or the right, but he can also come up the middle," said Walls, who played for Dallas from 1991-90. "He can play middle linebacker, and we’ve never seen a linebacker used in such a diverse manner. And, so, that to me is what puts him over the top in regards to Defensive Player of the Year."
Taylor was the last rookie to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1981 as part of three such awards that he collected in his 184-game career that lasted through the 1993 season.
Walls eventually became teammates with Taylor from 1990-92, and credits his pass rushing for allowing the former undrafted free agent from Grambling State to record six interceptions in the New York Giants' Super Bowl season of 1990.
"Let’s just be clear," said Walls. "Parsons is that guy that can even do more than that. He is as heralded, to me, what makes him more diverse, when you have to look for him, not just to the left and the right, but now you are also looking down the middle; he can play the run just as good as the pass, and that is exceptional. You just don’t find many that can play the run and you can put him on the defensive line and he can rush just like Lawrence Taylor. That hasn’t happened yet, guys. It just hasn’t happened yet. He’s the first I can recall.”
Walls is also partial to Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs, who matched Walls' franchise single-season interception record of 11 set in 1981, to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
"I would love for Diggs to get it because interceptions really need to be heralded more than they are," Walls said. "To have the ability to play defensive back and go from playing defense to offense, to me, that’s a skill that people hold to be underrated."
However, for Walls, Parsons' talent is undeniable.
"When you start looking at a guy like Parsons who can close the gap so quickly, and I’ve never seen anyone that go from hike to sack so quickly," Walls said. "So, yeah, I put my money on Parsons.”
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