Cowboys to play linebacker Micah Parsons at DE due to defensive line injuries

When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Micah Parsons at No. 12, they selected the consensus top rated off-the-ball linebacker despite already being stacked at the position group. And just two weeks into the season -- out of a serious need -- they are already moving him.

The talented tackler from Penn State will essentially move to defensive end, sources say, beginning with Dallas' game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Thanks to the broken foot that Demarcus Lawrence suffered at practice this week, along with Randy Gregory landing on the COVID-19 list, there is a big-time void when it comes to rushing the passer. Parsons should help fill it.

With Parsons making a move, Leighton Vander Esch should stay on the field in all packages along with Keanu Neal, which is another added benefit of the Parsons shift. Neal may play added safety snaps this week, paving the way for more Jaylon Smith snaps. Some tinkering for sure, but Dallas' D is confident it can perform.

As for Parsons, rushing the passer isn't new. In fact, that's all he did prior to arriving at Penn State before he was moved to linebacker out of need. The Cowboys smartly trained Parsons as a designated pass rusher this spring, and he even impressed Lawrence while doing it.

"Last week we were watching film of pass rush and D-Law came up to me," Parsons told reporters during the spring, "And was like, 'You pass rush like that, Rook?' I was like, 'Yeah, I used to be a defensive end.' He was like, 'Alright, tap in with me.' Me and him have been getting closer."

That all may pay off beginning today.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter.

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