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By Amol Nadkarni
In the 2015 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected WR Devante Parker out of Louisville. The hope was that the big-bodied Parker could add an extra dimension to the Dolphin’s aerial attack; however his rookie season ended abruptly when he had to undergo foot surgery. Although a stat line of 26 receptions for 494 yards and three touchdowns is hardly impressive, he did show promise during his rookie season and many in the Dolphins organization are excited about his future.
Parker had an impressive college career at the University of Louisville, tying the school record for career touchdown receptions (33). He proved to be a go-to receiver for the Cardinals, totaling 10 100-yard games in his college career. His most impressive accomplishment came during his senior season, when he missed the first seven games of the year with a foot injury. Despite this setback, Parker played the last six games of the season, catching 43 passes for 855 yards and five touchdowns. It showed that he could come back from injury (similar to the injury he currently has in the NFL) and still produce at a high level. This production sky-rocketed him up draft boards and the Dolphins selected him with the 15th overall selection in last year’s draft.
When one watches Parker, it becomes instantly apparent that he plays with excellent body control despite the fact that he is 6”3’ and 209 Lbs. He consistently high-points the ball and does not need much separation from defenders to make plays. Parker’s soft hands and outstanding concentration are some of his best intangibles, along with his unique ability to control his body in a way to put him in the best position to make contested catches. An underrated aspect of his game is ability to make plays after the catch. At the combine he showed that he has the athleticism to be a dynamic receiver in the right system.
Parker can be a very good compliment to WR Jarvis Landry. Landry does his best work in the slot, while Parker can lineup outside, thus allowing the Dolphins to stretch the field. His huge catch radius will allow QB Ryan Tannenhill to not always have to be 100% accurate on his throws down the field: something the former Aggie has struggled with in his career. Parker is the type of player that you can throw the ball up to and let him fight for it. And more often than not he will come down with it. He will likely not get picked in fantasy drafts, but make sure to keep an eye on him on the waiver wire. He if comes back from injury like he did in college, Parker could eventually be a starter in your lineup.