Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons, who posted a rookie-high 13 sacks and tied for the NFL lead with 20 tackles for loss, is the 2021 Rookie of the Year and the Defensive Rookie of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who was third in receiving touchdowns with 13 and fourth in receiving yards with 1,455 – the most ever by a rookie in the Super Bowl era, is the 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Parsons, the 12th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Penn State, played in 16 games (all starts), and set a Cowboys rookie record and led all NFL rookies with 13 sacks. The 13 sacks tied for the third-most by a NFL rookie since the stat became official in 1982. He became only the second rookie since 1999 to post 13 sacks and 20 tackles for loss, along with Indianapolis’ Dwight Freeney (2002). Parsons had three multi-sack games, including 2.5 vs. Denver on November 7. He recorded a full sack in six straight games – one of three rookies with a full sack credited n at least six consecutive games since 1982. His 20 tackles for loss tied for the league lead and was the most TFL for a Cowboys linebacker since Sean Lee had 13 in 2017. He played 301 run defense snaps, 307 pass rush snaps and 284 pass coverage snaps during the season, and he was credited by Pro Football Focus with 67 quarterback pressures (ninth in the NFL). Parsons was selected NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month in both November and December and the Week 8 NFC Defensive Player of the Week. He was the only rookie named to the 2021 PFWA All-NFL team, and he also was a PFWA All-NFC selection.
Parsons is the third Cowboys player selected as the PFWA’s Rookie of the Year (RB Tony Dorsett in 1977 and RB Ezekiel Elliott in 2016) and the first to receive Defensive Player of the Year.
Chase, the fifth overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft out of LSU, played in 17 games (all starts) and set the Cincinnati record for receiving yards with 1,455 in maybe the best statistical season ever by a Bengals rookie. He broke club rookie records with 81 receptions, 1,455 receiving yards, 13 receiving TDs and posted five 100-yard receiving games. He set the single-game receiving yardage mark for a rookie with a franchise record 266 yards at Kansas City on January 2, and he had two of the three highest single-game receiving yardage outputs in the NFL during the 2021 season. He became the first rookie and fifth player ever with multiple 200-yard receiving games in a single season. Chase tied for fourth in receptions of 40 yards or longer (eight), and he tied for fourth in receptions of 20 yards or longer (22). He was a two-time AFC Offensive Player of the Week in Weeks 7 and 17, and he was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Month for September. Chase was voted to the PFWA All-AFC team.
Chase is the first Cincinnati player to be selected Offensive Rookie of the Year by the PFWA.
Three teams – the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins – each had three All-Rookie selections.
The Bengals, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers each had two selections. In all, 16 clubs are represented among the 27 players honored.
The All-Rookie team offense includes New England’s Mac Jones at quarterback, Pittsburgh’s Najee Harris and Denver’s Javonte Williams at running back, the Atlanta Falcons’ Kyle Pitts at tight end, Kansas City’s Creed Humphrey at center, Kansas City’s Trey Smith and the New York Jets’ Alijah Vera-Tucker at guard and the Chargers’ Rashawn Slater and the Detroit Lions’ Penei Sewell at tackle.
The All-Rooke defense consists of defensive linemen Christian Barmore (New England), Odafe Oweh (Baltimore Ravens), Kwitty Paye (Indianapolis Colts) and Jaelan Phillips (Miami Dolphins), linebackers Nick Bolton (Kansas City), Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Cleveland) and Parsons, Cleveland’s Greg Newsome II and Denver’s Patrick Surtain II at cornerback and Miami’s Jevon Holland and the Las Vegas Raiders’ Tre’Von Moehrig at safety. The Dolphins list Phillips as a linebacker in their defensive alignment, and PFWA members voted for him to a defensive lineman honor.
Cincinnati placekicker Evan McPherson, Pittsburgh punter Pressley Harvin III, kick returner Kene Nwangwu (Minnesota Vikings), Cleveland punt returner Demetric Felton and Chargers special teamer Nick Niemann make up the All-Rookie special teams selections.
The PFWA has awarded an All-Rookie team every season since 1974.
2021 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: LB Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
2021 OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
2021 DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: LB Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
2021 PFWA ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
QB – Mac Jones, New England Patriots
RB – Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers; Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos
WR – Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals; Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins
TE – Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
C – Creed Humphrey, Kansas City Chiefs
G – Trey Smith, Kansas City Chiefs; Alijah Vera-Tucker; New York Jets
T – Rashawn Slater, Los Angeles Chargers; Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions
DL – Christian Barmore, New England Patriots; Odafe Oweh, Baltimore Ravens; Kwity Paye, Indianapolis Colts; Jaelan Phillips, Miami Dolphins
LB – Nick Bolton, Kansas City Chiefs; Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Cleveland Browns; Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
CB – Greg Newsome II, Cleveland Browns; Patrick Surtain II, Denver Broncos
S – Jevon Holland, Miami Dolphins; Tre’Von Moehrig, Las Vegas Raiders
PK – Evan McPherson, Cincinnati Bengals
P – Pressley Harvin III, Pittsburgh Steelers
KR – Kene Nwangwu, Minnesota Vikings
PR – Demetric Felton, Cleveland Browns
ST – Nick Niemann, Los Angeles Chargers
PFWA NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: 1966 – MLB Tommy Nobis, Atlanta Falcons; 1967-74 – no selections; 1975 – RB Mike Thomas, Washington Redskins; 1976 – WR Sammy White, Minnesota Vikings; 1977 – RB Tony Dorsett, Dallas Cowboys; 1978 – RB Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers; 1979 – RB Ottis Anderson, St. Louis Cardinals; 1980 – RB Billy Sims, Detroit Lions; 1981 – RB George Rogers, New Orleans Saints; 1982 – RB Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders; 1983 – RB Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams; 1984 – WR/KR Louis Lipps, Pittsburgh Steelers; 1985 – WR Eddie Brown, Cincinnati Bengals; 1986 – RB Rueben Mayes, New Orleans Saints; 1987 – ILB Shane Conlan, Buffalo Bills; 1988 – RB John Stephens, New England Patriots; 1990 – S Mark Carrier, Chicago Bears; 1991 – OLB Mike Croel, Denver Broncos; 1992-2012 – no selections; 2013 – RB Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers; 2014 – WR Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants; 2015 – RB Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams; 2016 – RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys; 2017 – RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs; 2018 – QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns; 2019 – DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers; 2020 – QB Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers; 2021 – LB Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys.
PFWA NFL OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: 1992 — PK Jason Hanson, Detroit Lions; 1993 — RB Jerome Bettis, Los Angeles Rams; 1994 — RB Marshall Faulk, Indianapolis Colts; 1995 — RB Curtis Martin, New England Patriots; 1996 — RB Eddie George, Houston Oilers; 1997 — RB Warrick Dunn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 1998 — WR Randy Moss, Minnesota Vikings; 1999 — RB Edgerrin James, Indianapolis Colts; 2000 — RB Mike Anderson, Denver Broncos; 2001 — RB Anthony Thomas, Chicago Bears; 2002 — RB Clinton Portis, Denver Broncos; 2003 — WR Anquan Boldin, Arizona Cardinals; 2004 — QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2005 — RB Cadillac Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2006 — QB Vince Young, Tennessee Titans; 2007 — RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings; 2008 — QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons; 2009 — WR Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings; 2010 — QB Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams; 2011 — QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers; 2012 — QB Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins; 2013 — WR Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers; 2014 — WR Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants; 2015 — RB Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams; 2016 — RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys; 2017 — RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs & RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints; 2018 — RB Saquon Barkley, New York Giants; 2019 — RB Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders; 2020 – QB Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers; 2021 – WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals.
PFWA NFL DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: 1992 — CB/PR Dale Carter, Kansas City Chiefs; 1993 — DT Dana Stubblefield, San Francisco 49ers; 1994 — DT Tim Bowens, Miami Dolphins; 1995 — DE Hugh Douglas, New York Jets; 1996 — DE Simeon Rice, Arizona Cardinals; 1997 — LB Peter Boulware, Baltimore Ravens; 1998 — CB Charles Woodson, Oakland Raiders; 1999 — DE Jevon Kearse, Tennessee Titans; 2000 — LB Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears; 2001 — LB Kendrell Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2002 — DE Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers; 2003 — LB Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens; 2004 — CB Dunta Robinson, Houston Texans; 2005 — LB Shawne Merriman, San Diego Chargers; 2006 — LB DeMeco Ryans, Houston Texans; 2007 — LB Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers; 2008 — LB Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots; 2009 — LB Brian Cushing, Houston Texans; 2010 — DT Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions; 2011 — OLB Aldon Smith, San Francisco 49ers; 2012 — LB Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers; 2013 — LB Kiko Alonso, Buffalo Bills; 2014 — DT Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams; 2015 — CB Marcus Peters, Kansas City Chiefs; 2016 — DE Joey Bosa, San Diego Chargers; 2017 — CB Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints; 2018 — LB Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts; 2019 — DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers; 2020 — DE Chase Young, Washington Football Team; 2021 – LB Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys.