After being drafted 14th overall in the 2015 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins, Card forever DeVante Parker has not exactly lived up to the elite receiver status that the Dolphins had hoped for. His 2 year career totals of 82 receptions, 1,238 yards and 7 touchdowns is more like what the Dolphins had hoped for in one year.
So what is the reason for Devante’s less than elite numbers? Well, it’s definitely not talent because he has plenty of that. We have all witnessed his talent going all the way back to his days at Ballard High School. The Dolphins know he has talent or they wouldn’t have drafted him in the first round. They believe that he has the potential to be an elite NFL receiver but it’s up to him to put forth the effort required to achieve that elite level. The Dolphins said that Parker himself decided that going less that 100 percent in weekly practices, would help save himself for the game on Sunday. Parker also had very poor eating habits as well as poor sleep routines.
Yes, he was injured but the Dolphins believed that with proper nutrition, rest and exercise, those injuries could have been avoided. Especially the hamstring injury, which usually is a direct result of poor stretching.
Now the Dolphins believe they finally have DeVante seeing things their way as he is on the path to be an elite receiver. He now has a much better routine. He is practicing harder and he seems to be “zeroed in” which is exactly what the Dolphins had hoped for. Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen recently told reporters that he believes Parker will finally break free from the class of ordinary NFL pass catchers this year and will put together not just “a big year’’ but “a gigantic year.’’
On Tuesday, the Miami Herald reported that Parker stated he was “100 percent healthy” and that he has “made the changes necessary to thrive.” Those changes include hydrating more; being diligent about stretching before and after practice; eating the right nutrition; and sleeping at least eight hours a night. Parker has been one of the first players training at the team facility, going as far back as January and he hasn’t missed a single practice session, which is a welcome change from last season.
Parker also said he didn’t need anybody to tell him that he needs to get better.
“Just talking to myself, really,” he said. “I just know I wanted to play better than I did last year. I was really big on this.”
Along with his health, Parker has gained some confidence as he has started to be more vocal on the field. After catching a touchdown pass in practice last week, he was seen and heard getting in defender Byron Maxwell’s face. “It’s something newer now,” Parker said of trash-talking. “I just feel like 100 percent and I just express myself, let it all out now.”
Parker has the body control, focus and hands of an elite level receiver. He has the unique superior ability to go up and catch the ball at his highest point. His route running, however, has never been exceptional and he often struggles to break free against press coverage. Some of that can be attributed to injury, poor practice habits and the coaches knowledge of what situations to put him in. Head coach Adam Gase openly acknowledges he has a greater understanding of what routes Parker’s capable of running in their second season together. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has gone on record as saying he believes the Dolphins have only scratched the surface of what it is Parker can do for them.
If Parker continues to work hard on the things that he can control, combined with his natural talent, he will be an elite NFL receiver very soon. I, for one, believe that after this season, DeVante Parker will have his name thrown in the conversation with the likes of Antonio Brown, AJ Green and Julio Jones.
As Always, GO CARDS!