Devante Parker had a rough senior season at Louisville, missing the first seven games of the season owing to a foot injury, but he certainly poured it on down the stretch. During the final games of the season, he caught 43 passes, going for a very respectable 855 yards, on his way to a 14th pick by the Miami Dolphins. Not only did he have a breakout second half to his senior season, but he had a respectable combine. He achieved a 4.45 second 40-yard dash result, followed by 17 reps on the bench press and a 36.5 inch vertical jump. Combine that with a 125.0 inch result on the broad jump, and he posted numbers that demonstrate his skills as a wide receiver and selling Joe Philbin, head coach of the Dolphins, on his ability to fit in well with their existing offensive scheme.
Parker’s strengths mostly lie in his uncanny body control ability. He has very soft hands, and an incredible focus and concentration indicative of veterans with many years of experience in the NFL. If he can bring this pose to his rookie season, he could make an immediate impact. He is also sure handed, dropping just three passes since 2012, and he can pass in deep coverage with a defender in tow. While he will not be the fastest in his class, he has an incredible catch radius that is sure to capture the delight of his quarterback, and many plays are sure to be drawn up just for his benefit. Finally, he appears to be a natural wide receiver, is highly practiced at the position, and still exhibits a desire and passion to grow.
Some of his weaknesses revolve around his rather linear thinking, and lack of creative play making ability. If he fails to grow in this area, opposing defenses will quickly read his moves, making it more difficult to have a breakout season. His play routes run at Louisville were largely inconsistent, and they were not as sharp as some other receivers in his class. Couple this with him losing some speed after his foot injury suffered in his junior season, and he does appear to have some catching up to do.
All in all, DaVante Parker has all the making of a fun, deep wide receiver that will wow fans with his ability to make plays once the ball is in the air. This should bode well for the revamped Miami Dolphin offense, as they try to go more high octane moving forward. While he lacks some physical strength and speed, this might be more an issue of needed to recover further from his energy and build up fitness at the pro level. If he can do this, then he should prove to be a great first round selection for the team in South Beach.