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Penn State in the NFL

Penn State Rookies Continue to Lead the Chase for Defensive Rookie of the Year

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Micah Parsons

The transition from college football to the NFL is usually a rough one for rookies. Unless you’re a rookie from Penn State that is.

Dallas Cowboys defensive end/linebacker hybrid Micah Parsons is clearly the leader for Defensive Rookie of the Year, but Baltimore Ravens linebacker Odafe Oweh is among the top contenders behind Parsons.

Parsons has racked up 67 tackles (52 solo), 15 tackles for loss, 23 quarterback hits, nine sacks and forced two fumbles in 11 games this season, performing as not only the best rookie defender but one of the best defenders in the NFL.

Despite a loss to the Los Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving Eve, Parsons made his impact felt with five tackles (four solo), two tackles for loss, a sack and five quarterback hits.

Oweh had a strong impact on the Raven’s Sunday night win over the Cleveland Browns. Despite playing just 60% of the defensive snaps, he made two tackles, recorded a sack and forced and recovered a fumble. In the process, he became the first rookie to record a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery in the same game this season.

Oweh has recorded 21 tackles (17 solo), five tackles for loss, five sacks, 13 quarterback hits, forced three fumbles and recovered two in 11 games (with just one start).

As the 12th and 31st players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, Parsons and Oweh have been key additions to strong defensive units this season.

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