With the 14th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker. The 6-foot-3, 212 pound Parker ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash and had a vertical leap of 36.5 inches in the build up to the Draft, giving Miami the big-bodied, number-one receiver they needed in the offense. Except, as the team begins year four with Parker, they are still waiting to see that player, waiting to see Parker reach his potential.
Dolphins fans have been frustrated with Parker’s play for the last couple of years. One game, he will dominate and look like a great receiver finally hitting his stride, and the next he will disappear. Injuries have plagued him throughout his career, whether they are serious or just long-term nagging problems, and Parker never seems to be at 100 percent. Now, the trade talks among the fans are starting to increase in volume.
There is nothing that says Miami is really looking to move on from Parker. They exercised his fifth-year option this year, keeping him under contract through 2019 - though they have the ability to rescind that fifth-year option after this season if Parker does not perform. The problem for Parker, at least in the eyes of the media and fans, is that he is having a quiet training camp (and, yes, it has been five practices into training camp so this really premature). Of course, the fact that Xavien Howard, who showed he could be a shutdown cornerback near the end of 2017, has been covering Parker through the early part of camp, and is not letting anything happen there.
The frustration is starting to return. Then, on Monday, head coach Adam Gase made one simple comment about free-agent addition Albert Wilson that got fans considering a possible trade of Parker. Gase was asked how Wilson fits into the offense, to which he replied, “He’s not a slot. That’s the funny part. Nobody understands. That’s a little frustrating.”
If Wilson is not a slot receiver, that leaves Miami with potentially five outside receivers to play along with Danny Amendola in the slot: Parker, Kenny Stills, Wilson, Jakeem Grant, and Isaiah Ford. Will the Dolphins carry six receivers this year? Or, do they need to make room on the roster by moving one of those guys? If they do need to move one, Parker seems to be the guy who could (a) bring back the most in compensation and (b) would be the guy the team could most afford to lose.
These are just fans trying to make sense of what is happening in camp. Howard’s success has been amazing and has fans excited about the possibility of a strong secondary this season. His success, however, has to come at the expense of someone else, and right now, that is Parker. There is still a ton of time before the regular season, with the majority of training camp still to go, along with all four of the preseason games. Parker will find his footing at some point in camp and the battle between Howard and Parker will only make the receiver better. Thinking the Dolphins are ready to move on from their 2015 first-round pick seems premature.
Parker should be on the roster opening day, and he should be lined up outside as the team’s number-one receiver. Maybe Parker never becomes a dominant receiver, but that does not mean he does not have a role on this offense, and that does not mean the team needs to trade him. Expect Parker to be here for 2018.
Should the Dolphins be shopping DeVante Parker?
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