Player: DeVante Parker
School: University of Louisville
Weight: 208 lbs.
Position Rank: 1
Leading off yet another talented wide receiver class is Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker. Some may be asking how I rank Parker over talents like Alabama’s Amari Cooper and West Virginia’s Kevin White. There is a case to be made for all three of them as to why they should be considered the best receiver in the 2015 draft class, but as of now I feel Parker is the number one receiver in this class due to his combination of size/speed that have people comparing his game to Bengals receiver A.J. Green
- Quick feet, explosive out of break
- Unaffected by players around him
- High points the ball well
- Hands catcher
- Physical in the open field
- Attacks ball well in air
- Works back to ball well when QB under pressure
- Needs to refine route-running ability, mainly staying square until the top of his stem
- Needs to improve hand use against press-coverage
- Attacks ball well, but can always improve
During his four years at Louisville Parker proved to be a dynamic playmaker at the wide receiver position, improving his receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions in his first three years on campus.
Many draftniks thought that Parker was ready to establish himself as one of the premier wide receivers in college football, but with the loss of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the NFL, and a foot injury that sidelined Parker for half the season, he was unable to show off his talent.
When Parker did return from the foot injury, he started showing signs of being back to the player he was pre-injury, positing a 43/855/5 line in just 6 games this season. I know that foot injuries can be tricky for wide receivers due to the stress playing the position puts on a player's lower extremities, but with Parker being able to play the second half of the year with no setbacks, GM's should feel comfortable investing a premium pick on Parker.
Parker has underrated speed for his size, and has shown the ability to both separate down the field and make the tough catches with defenders around him. Parker also does a very good job using his wide frame to gain separation in the intermediate area of the field. Parker has very quick feet, and should not have a problem separating from bigger, press-type corners that the NFL has been looking for lately. While Parker is a good route-runner, he needs to do a better job using his hands fighting off defenders, as well as staying square and sinking into his break.
In my opinion Parker has the tools to eventually put his name in the conversation as one of the premier wide receivers both from a team and fantasy perspective. As far as his rookie season, I would expect Parker to come in and make an immediate impact for whichever team is lucky enough to land his services.
It is tough to project just how valuable Parker will be during his rookie season because we do not know where he will be playing yet. However, even without knowing which team he will be playing for I expect Parker to have as good, if not more of an impact than Panthers and Buccaneers wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Mike Evans
While both Benjamin and Evans did produce double-digit touchdown's during their rookie seasons, they were only able to crack the century-mark for receiving yards three times. The lack of consistency in their yardage totals make them touchdown-dependent WR2/3 fantasy options during their rookie seasons.
With Parker, you get a player that is a better athlete down-the-field than, has more consistent hands, and will likely go to a team with an established quarterback. Like Benjamin and Evans, I expect Parker will be a touchdown dependent WR3 fantasy option to start the season, with the potential to move depending on where he lands in the draft and how he progresses during OTA's and mini-camps.
Player Comparison: A.J. Green
Earlier I compared Parker's game to the style of Bengals star wide receiver A.J. Green. While that is high standard for any player to try and reach, I feel that if you look a little closer at their production in college and the progression that Parker made during his college career he has the potential to be the same caliber of player.
DeVante Parker/A.J. Green College Career Comparison
Green was the more consistent college player totaling over 50 receptions and 800 receiving yards during in all three seasons in Athens. It took a little it longer for Parker to make an impact for the Cardinal program as he did not see a full-time role until his sophomore season.
As you can see by the chart above Parker is a touchdown machine. Parker posted double-digit touchdowns in his sophomore and junior season, while posting an absurd 17 yards-per-reception over his career.
|DeVante Parker*||Player||A.J. Green|
|208 lbs||Weight||205 lbs|
|4.49*||40 yard dash||4.50|
*indicate high school measurements
Parker has a firm top-15 grade for me, but could potentially land anywhere within the first round if teams deem White or Cooper better fits for their offense.
A lot of rumblings have Parker being slotted at the number 11 overall pick, joining forces with his old college quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota. As a Vikings fan I would not complain about the outcome, but I deem it unlikely as of now. With head coach Mike Zimmer’s intention on establishing an elite defense in Minnesota, I expect GM Rick Spielman to find his coach another toy that he can pair with young talents like Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Anthony Barr, and Everson Griffen.
After that, you can pretty much throw a dart board at any team in the first round that has the need for a talented pass catcher, as I could see Parker going anywhere from the number four overall pick to the Raiders, to as far back as the Chargers selection at nineteen. If Parker is able to test well at the combine and pro day I would not be surprised if Parker puts himself in contention to be the first wide receiver taken come April.
Grade: Top 15