The Miami Dolphins spent a large portion of this offseason rebuilding their wide receiver corps. The team traded away Mike Wallace and released Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson, while signing Greg Jennings and trading for Kenny Stills. The last piece of the puzzle was the drafting of Louisville wide out DeVante Parker with the 14th overall selection.
Parker comes to Miami with the ability to attack the ball at the high point, and should become the team's top receiving threat as he develops in the NFL. As a senior at Louisville, Parker missed the first seven games of the season due to a foot injury, but was still able to record 43 receptions for 855 yards with five touchdowns.
The foot injury, however, has again caused issues for Parker, as it required an additional surgery in June. After receiving rave reviews of his performances in the team's organized team activities and minicamp as a part of the offseason workout program, doctors replaced a screw in Parker's foot, attempting to end discomfort the wide out had been feeling. The surgery is expected to cause Parker to miss the beginning of training camp, and possibly most of the preseason, but should have him ready to play by the regular season's opening day. This week, Parker's agent James Gould confirmed that is still the expectation.
Admitting that it was too soon to tell when Parker would make his preseason debut for the Dolphins, Gould told the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, "everything is perfect" in Parker's rehab. He went on to add that Parker should be ready for Week 1 in September.
As for the potential of a reccurence of the injury, Gould told Jackson, "I don't think it will happen again. They got it right."
Parker was compared to A.J. Green leading into the Draft, and, if he is able to come close to that level of play for the Dolphins, should quickly become the focal point of the receiving group. The team could, understandably, be deliberate in how they bring back the rookie, perferring to allow the trio of Jennings, Landry, and Stills to handle the majority of the duties instead of throwing Parker back into the fire immediately after he receives medical clearance. That could mean Parker starts the season on the bench, though he will likely see plenty of playing time as the season progresses, potentially breaking into the starting lineup at some point. The relationship quarterback Ryan Tannehill already has with Landry will likely mean the second-year receiver leads the team in receptions this season, but there is no reason why Parker could not finish the year second for the Dolphins, as soon as his foot fully heals.