Blue White Illustrated

February 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

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6 2 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 2 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M M icah Parsons has made the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year award announcement set for Feb. 10 su- perfluous. The former Nittany Lion standout is a 100-1 favorite to take home the honor according to the bookmakers, and it's easy to see why. He was expected to make an impact as a rookie, but nobody could have foreseen the havoc he would wreak on opposing offenses. Splitting time between linebacker and defensive end, Parsons registered 13 sacks, narrowly missing out on the NFL rookie record of 14.5. "He's almost like Barry Sanders in there when he's avoiding blocks," Cow- boys coach Mike McCarthy said. "They can't get their hands on him." Any statistic that involves spending time in the opposition's backfield saw Parsons crack the leaderboard. The only defensive rookie on the first- team All-Pro squad, Parsons made 20 tackles for loss, which ties him for the 32nd most all-time, according to Pro Football Reference Data. He also tied for fourth in the league with 30 quarterback hits and second with 17 QB knockdowns. His 47 pres- sures were good enough for fourth in the NFL. This is only the beginning for Parsons, whose Cowboys suffered a disappointing loss to the 49ers in the first round of the NFL Playoffs. Parsons will be back. Which is bad news for quarterbacks everywhere. "I view myself as one of the most ver- satile players in the NFL," he told Sports Illustrated. "I'm a guy that can do it all, and I want to do it all. I just want every opportunity I can get. I always say you have to take advantage of the opportuni- ties, and I just feel like any chance I can get to be on the field is just a great op- portunity for me to display my talents. I don't really believe in wasting opportu- nities. I'm a guy that just wants to be out there." FORMER NITTANY LIONS ON NFL ROSTERS As of Jan. 24 Marcus Allen (Played at Penn State 2014-17), LB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Al- len played in 16 games for the Steelers this season, primarily on special teams. He didn't make his first appearance on defense until Week 14. Allen finished the year with 13 total tackles. Adrian Amos (2011-14), S, Green Bay Packers: The veteran Packers safety produced one of the best seasons of his career in 2022. He finished with 93 tack- les including 75 unassisted stops, both of which were career-highs, and was tied for 21st in the NFL among all defenders in solo tackles. Amos also broke up eight passes and grabbed two interceptions. He pulled down a pick in Green Bay's loss to the 49ers in the divisional round. Troy Apke (2014-17), S, Washington Football Team: Apke played exclusively on special teams during the 2021 season, finishing the year with six tackles. Saquon Barkley (2015-17), RB, New York Giants: Another injury-plagued season saw Barkley miss four games for the Giants, and an injury to QB Daniel Jones late in the season further limited the running back's productivity. Overall, Barkley carried the ball 162 times for 593 yards. He also caught 41 passes for 263 yards, reaching the end zone four times total. Ryan Bates (2015-18), OL, Buffalo Bills: Bates emerged as a starter for the Bills down the stretch, playing at least 90 percent of the offensive snaps in Buf- falo's final three regular-season games, as well as its two playoff games. Buffalo won the first four of those contests be- fore falling to Kansas City in a thrilling divisional playoff contest. Nick Bowers (2015-19), TE, Las Vegas Raiders: Bowers made his NFL debut in 2021, playing in five games total. It could have been more had he not suf- Parsons was the only defensive rookie to make the NFL's first-team All-Pro squad and is a 100-1 favorite to claim the league's Defensive Rookie of the Year award. PHOTO BY JAMES D. SMITH/DALLAS COWBOYS Micah Parsons Wraps Up Spectacular Debut Season DAV I D E C K E RT | DAV I D E C K E R T 9 8 @ G M A I L . C O M PSU IN THE PROS

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