DeVante Parker grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and stayed at home, playing for the Cardinals in college. He made a splash in his sophomore season, finishing first on the team in receiving yards, and led the team in both years since then as well. He enters the 2015 NFL Draft as one of the top 3 WR prospects according to many scouts.
In 2012, Parker paired with fellow Sophomore QB Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals made a splash, beating the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl and finishing ranked #13 overall. Parker played a big part in their success, leading the team with 744 receiving yards and catching 10 of Bridgewater’s 27 TD passes. He improved on that in 2013, catching 55 passes for 885 yards and 12 TDs. A broken bone in his foot caused him to miss the 2014 season opener for the Cardinals, and he missed six other games before returning against NC State. Playing in only six total games in 2014 didn’t stop him from making a huge impact, however, as he had five games of over 100 receiving yards, including a 200 yard game against Florida State. He production and potential as a deep threat skyrocketed him to the top of the list of WR prospects in this year’s draft class, where he currently sits alongside Amari Cooper and Kevin White.
|DOB||January 20, 1993||Bench (225 lb)||17 reps|
|Weight||209 lbs||Broad Jump||10’5″|
|Arms||33-1/4″||20 Yard Shuttle||N/A|
|Hands||9-1/4″||3 Cone Drill||N/A|
|40 Yard Dash (10 yd split)||4.45 sec (1.56 sec)||60 Yard Shuttle||N/A|
Stats and Awards
|University of Louisville (2011-2014)|
|2014||43 rec, 855 yards, 19.88 ypc, 5 TDs|
|2013||55 rec, 885 yards, 16.09 ypc, 12 TDs|
|2012||40 rec, 744 yards, 18.60 ypc, 10 TDs|
|2011||18 rec, 291 yards, 16.17 ypc, 6 TDs|
- Has the size and fits the deep threat WR prototype
- Can accelerate past corners on deep routes
- Does an excellent jump leaping and catching the ball at its highest point
- Catches the ball with his hands away from his body
- Wins physical battles on deep balls
- Makes tough catches while getting hit over the middle
- Massive catch radius, adjusts well to catch ball at angles while in the air
- Struggles to reel in passes at or below the waist
- Has excellent vision and can turn short catches into long gains
- Quickly changes direction with ball in hand, making would-be tacklers miss
- Physical after the catch, often requiring multiple defensive backs to tackle him
- Consistently gets behind defense, but often fails to get separation on shorter routes
- Often takes counterproductive first step
- Physical enough most of the time when run blocking, but sometimes gets lazy
After watching three games from each of his last three seasons at Lousiville, I saw a number of consistent traits that Parker displayed. I’ve taken a few examples to explain each attribute from his senior year. Most of the plays are from the Kentucky game, which I feel was the best of his career. I’ve also included some plays from Louisville’s games against NC State and Florida State in 2014.
Run after catch
The first two plays, while they have a different setups, show much the same result: Parker is excellent in navigating his way through traffic to find open space. On the first play, he catches the screen and when he turns up field he has four defenders surrounding him. Now, the Kentucky defenders did a horrible job of trying to tackle him, but he still had the strength to break one tackle and the acceleration to make others miss. On the second play, he does an excellent job of working his way across the field while making defenders miss before turning the ball upfield.
The third play shows some of Parker’s ability to break DB tackles after the catch. He does this constantly on tape. It’s rather rare for the first DB to bring him down if he doesn’t get tackled in the process of catching the ball.
Gets step on man coverage for deep ball
The corner falls down on the first play, but Parker has beaten him before he trips. Something that helped that route is a subtle step that Parker took aroud the first down marker where he faked throttling it down, as if he were going to break to the inside. It was just noticable for one step, but it allowed him to blow past the corner.
On the second play, he’s facing off against PJ Williams, who is considered by many to be a late first round pick in this draft. It’s hard to see, but Parker does a good job of chopping at Williams’ press so he can get a freer release. Once he’s level with the CB, he’s able to just outrun him and give his QB a chance to make the throw.