In retrospect, it was all the more impressive considering the Dallas Cowboys linebacker's recent revelation that he hyperextended his knee in a training camp practice with the Los Angeles Rams and was bothered by the ailment all season.
"It was at a point where I was like, 'I'm in a position battle. I'm going against Jaylon (Smith). The first game is coming up soon.' I was like, 'This is the worst time for this to happen,'" said Parsons recently in an interview with Bleacher Report, via The Athletic's Jon Machota. "It's something that just kept lingering. When you hyperextend something, it needs rest. But I was like, 'I can't take no rest.' The whole season I kept rehabbing, rehabbing, rehabbing so that way I could play in the games."
The notion that Parsons was essentially rehabbing through such an outstanding 2021 season is mind-spinning.
At rookie year's end, Parsons led the Cowboys and all NFL rookies with 13 sacks, had 84 tackles, 30 QB hits and three forced fumbles in 16 starts. His efforts earned him Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections along with a unanimous AP NFL Defensive Rooke of the Year accolade.
Parsons has let it be known he can "get better everywhere," and it's hard to argue that if you consider the versatile and rangy talent was presumably a step slow due to his knee.
Anticipation for his second-season encore is already no doubt sky-high, but considering he was dealing with a lingering injury and was still so exceptional makes the prospect of his sophomore campaign all the more enticing.
The Cowboys struck it rich with Parsons in the 2021 NFL Draft, and they might well have a 100-percent healthy Parsons for 2022, which is a horrific proposition for opposing offenses.