2015 NFL Draft Profile: WR Devante Parker

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Nov 22, 2014; South Bend, IN, USA; Louisville Cardinals wide receiver DeVante Parker (9) makes a touchdown catch against Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Michael Deeb (42) during the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s go back to the NFL draft. Time to profile another of the many candidates that will be looking for NFL work when the teams head to Chicago to make their selections.

The New York Jets may still choose a wide receiver, though they don’t necessarily need to choose one with the sixth pick. What if the Jets wait until later on to choose a wide receiver? A good one would really give the New York Jets a new look on the offensive side of the football.

Here is a guy that will be available after the top ten, although there is debate about how far down he will go. that player is the one we are looking at tonight. The spotlight tonight, is on WR Devante Parker from Louisville.

Next: College Career

Nov 8, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Louisville Cardinals wide receiver DeVante Parker (9) before the game against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

As always, we start with the career stats. Here are Devante Parker’s stats from his days at Louisville:

Receiving & Rushing

Parker didn’t catch a lot of passes at Louisville, which is concerning.  But he made the most of those receptions, with a yards per catch average of 19.9 as a senior, and 17.8 for his career overall.  Parker is a threat to make a big play every time he touches the football.

It’s also encouraging that Parker played at Louisville for a full four years of college.  We often talk about players that don’t get enough experience before heading to the pros.  Devante Parker played 43 games in college, that’s a lot.  That will only help him when he comes up to the big time.

Next: NFL Combine

Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisville Cardinals wide receiver Devante Parker catches a pass during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

At the NFL Combine, Parker did a sold job, running the forty yard dash in 4.45 seconds, and jumping 125 inches in the broad jump. He measured in at 6’3″, 209 pounds. Here are the strengths and weaknesses from his NFL draft profile:

STRENGTHS: Consistently plays with outstanding body control. Soft hands and elite concentration are his calling cards. Credited with just three drops since 2012. Comfortable with a man on his hip. Maintains focus on downfield throws despite hand fighting and bumps. Daunting catch radius. Produces explosive plays without top-end speed. Works his way back to the ball and gets open during scrambles. Consistently high-points his catches and is a snatch-and-secure receiver. Recognizes when to adjust depth of routes over the middle. Has an innate feel for the position. Proved he could come back from injury and regain his form. Maximizes his catch window through body control, extended hands and positioning.

WEAKNESSES: Linear and lacking ideal play strength. Has to prove he can beat a more physical brand of press coverage. Very average suddenness out of breaks. Routes are inconsistent and sometimes lack sharpness. Noticeably slower after returning from a broken bone in his foot in 2014. Quick-twitch corners could be his kryptonite. He was not put on this earth to run block.

As always, film and final thoughts on the last page.

Next: Film and Final Thoughts

My favorite thing on this tape is how Devante Parker uses his hands to make the catch. The previous page is dead on, Parker does his best work with the ball in the air. He goes and gets the football and takes it out of the air with his hands, rather than letting the ball come to him. We have seen the other side, (cough cough, Stephen Hill), and it is not good. I also like Parker’s speed off the line.

But there are some concerns. First of all, he is no run blocker. Parker almost appears to not put a great deal of effort into it, which is concerning. That has to get better. The other problem is playing press coverage. He doesn’t see it often, and when he does, he doesn’t look good. Did you see the play where Parker was handfighting as he ran down the sidelines? The defender kept him so pinned to the sidelines that he stepped out, making him ineligible. It’s only one play, but it could be a hint that Devante Parker is not physical enough.

That being said, there is something there. Devante Parker’s draft profile projects him as a first rounder. That is high for me, based on the tape. If the Jets grade Devante Parker in the first round, I would pass. But if he were to slip lower, I would take a flyer on Parker.

He can play.

Next: Todd Bowles Fuels Mariota Speculation

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