Scouting Report: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
The Sure Thing
Selling DeVante Parker is pretty easy to do. You could use his stats or you could point to his impressive digits at the combine. There’s really nowhere you can go if you are looking to poke holes in Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite collegiate target. If you read Rotobahn regularly, you know we’re all about game film, and with all due to respect to stats and measurables, this is where Parker shines.
As much as I like Kevin White and Amari Cooper, I would find no fault with a draft board that had Parker in the number one spot. He’s that predictable in terms of next-level talents and traits. Not to say that he has zero weaknesses. If I was to try and describe Parker’s downside, it would be limited to two basic things; durability and lack of freakiness. Parker’s very good across the board but he’s not huge nor is he a burner. Of course, he is bigger and faster than the average bear at the next level, so how big of a knock are we talking about? Not much. The durability, on the other hand, could be an issue, especially if he is a high-volume player at the next level.
Alright, we’ve covered his relative weaknesses which amount to a lack of Dez or Calvin-like athleticism and an imperfect track record of health. So what are the positives? Just about everything else, and I’ll get into that after the combine information.
- Height - 6’3”
- Weight - 209
- Arms - 33 1/4 (long arms)
- Hand - 9 1/4
- 40 - 4.45
- Bench - 17
- Vertical - 36.5”
- Broad - 10.5’
The numbers are impressive and show off Parker’s explosiveness. His height, leaping ability, long arms and ability to catch balls away from his frame make him difficult to deal with on contested balls. Parker expressed typical confidence at the podium and had an interesting take on who the best college corner he faced was.
Which games of yours would you tell scouts to watch? “I'd say the Florida State game and Kentucky game senior year. And North Carolina State.” On who was the best DB he played in college? “P.J. Williams of Florida State.” On his game…. “I'm a big, physical kind of player. I go up and get the ball. I go in the middle. Anywhere, I go and get it.”
- Size - He’s big and he’s got some heft. He’ll out-size nearly every corner who tries to defend him.
- Hands - He's a hands-catcher and he makes all the catches. No issues here.
- Ball skills - If Parker has a calling card, this would be it. He gets his head turned early and tracks the football well. When it comes to making the play, he can use his length and explosiveness to go after the football, and he plays with that my-ball mentality that we like.
- Body control - We like calm athletes and Parker is one of those. He’s very much under control—making it look easy at times. This leads to plays after the catch because Parker doesn’t need to sell out to make the catch a lot of the time. The net effect is that, he’s often in better position than the defender both before and after the catch.
- Speed - This is key in a certain sense because he has everything else you look for, and that makes the speed work to its maximum potential.
- Cutting ability - His lack of 3-cone time might seem like a red flag, but if you watch the film, you will see the ability to make cuts in the open field and lose defenders. This is also evident in his routes.
- Routes - He can make a cut and he sinks his hips relatively well for a long athlete. That helps him get in and out of breaks. He runs more routes than a typical college receiver and that’ll serve him well going forward. Another plus trait that NFL scouts will love is his ability to work back to his quarterback, which is all over his game film with Teddy Bridgewater. He’s effective against zone coverage as well as man coverage.
- Defeating the jam - He’s got the requisite ability here and he shows it on film though it’s not the preferred tactic of defenders at the college level. I expect Parker’s savvy, quick feet, long arms and upper body strength to help him deal with tougher press corners at the next level. He’ll have to adapt like all young receivers, but he’s well-suited for the transition.
- Complete player - You get it all with Parker. He can win against zone coverage and deal with man-to-man as I’ve described, but he’ll also make the big play whether it be in the red zone or with the deep ball. He’s a quarterback’s friend when things break down because, as I mentioned, he works back to the quarterback so well. There are no holes in his game.
- Production - Even with an injury-shortened senior season, his numbers are outstanding.
Parker is an NFL talent and he should be able to make significant contributions as a rookie. He brings elements of Torry Holt, Reuben Randle and Brandon LaFell to the table though none of them are perfect comparisons.
The Holt comp is about smoothness and natural athleticism. Randle and LaFell are more body-type comparisons but I think Parker has a higher ceiling than either one of them because he’s technically superior at the stage of his career.
Parker should be a high-priority in all long term drafts and he could have significant redraft appeal if he lands in a friendly environment that includes a competent quarterback. He's a sure thing.
More 2015 Scouting Reports:
- Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
- Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina
- Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
- Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
- Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
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