Last spring during the NFL Draft, the Giants, whose needs included a pass-rushing specialist, had a chance to land Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons at No. 11.
Instead, the Giants, who apparently had their eye on grabbing an offensive playmaker and who likely were disappointed when the Philadelphia Eagles swapped places with the Dallas Cowboys to grab Alabama receiver Devonta Smith, took what was behind Door No. 2.
Door No. 2 was a trade down to No. 20 in which the Giants also picked up a 2021 fifth-round pick, a first-round pick in 2022, and a fourth-round pick in 2022.
Meanwhile, after the Bears selected quarterback Justin Fields at No. 11, the Dallas Cowboys swooped in and grabbed Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, a player in whom the Giants had a healthy mix of interest and reservations throughout the pre-draft scouting process.
The Giants, who eventually landed a pass rusher in the second round (Georgia linebacker Azeez Ojulari) after spending the 20th overall pick on Florida receiver Kadarius Toney, will get another up-close look at Parsons Sunday when the Cowboys come to town.
Parsons, for his part, has made sure to reward the Cowboys’ faith in him. He leads all rookies with 12 sacks and is currently seventh in the league in that category.
He’s also considered by many to be a lock for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, and for some, has conjured up some very early memories of a young Lawrence Taylor, the Giants’ Hall of Fame linebacker that changed the game.
“This guy coming out of college, we knew he was going to be an impact player,” said Giants head coach Joe Judge. “We had a lot of love for this guy in the building, a lot of respect for him. We knew he was going to be a good player.”
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To expect Judge to do anything other than praise an opponent would be to expect a blizzard on the Fourth of July.
If the Giants had as much love for the guy as Judge claims existed inside of 1925 Giants Drive, that they passed on him in the draft when he was there for the taking is simply inexplicable, especially considering Toney, their first-round pick, hasn’t come close to making the type of impact the Giants hoped he’d have.
And if the Giants regret their decision which left them to miss out on Parsons, they’re never going to let on—and indeed, it’s too soon to say for sure if they made the right decision.
But that doesn’t make it any easier on them in knowing that they now must figure out how to block the young man twice a year, including this weekend’s matchup, which should pit Parsons against a struggling Nate Solder at right tackle.
“(Cowboys Defensive Coordinator) Dan (Quinn) is doing a really good job of matching him up and letting him play with his pass rush skillset, playing coverage with speed. He’s become a factor in a lot of different areas,” Judge said.
“You’ve got to know where he is on the field. They’re moving him around, they’re definitely doing a lot of things to help his skillset or use his skillset to help the defense.”