When an NFL team has as much talent at one position, it is easy to get lost in the shufﬂe. The Miami Dolphins have their fair share of talented wide receivers and DeVante Parker has not become the playmaker they had hoped for.
When the Dolphins drafted Parker, they expected a red zone threat that could attack the ball at its highest point and take away toss up passes. Throughout his bright spots in games, he has done just that. Plenty of times, the quarterback has put passes where Parker would have to go up and get them. There have many more he would have to make an adjustment on the ball. Parker has had no shortage of big plays. His biggest fault, however, has been struggling with consistency. Not only has Parker struggled to stay healthy, he has almost seemed a bit lethargic at times.
However, that was with the old regime.
There is a change of culture down in Miami that can beneﬁt Parker to no end. Head coach Adam Gase has found a way to make players want to succeed, want to play in Miami, and want to win. Miami drafted him in the ﬁrst round of the 2015 NFL draft, 14th overall. Parker was supposed to be the weapon the Dolphins had hoped for when they selected him.
In two seasons, DeVante Parker has just 7 touchdowns and 1238 yards, but those stats have a little slant to them. Due to injuries, he has started just 12 games in two seasons. If he can stay healthy, Tannehill might be able to nail down the chemistry needed for the tandem to thrive. Miami’s offenses feature Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry, and Jay Ajayi to take the pressure off. Combine that where they have picked up tight end options Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano to add more weapons. Thomas will be more involved in the passing game but Fasano brings extra protection in blocking schemes, giving the offense more time for plays to develop.
Fast forward to this offseason and the Miami Dolphins are seeing a hungrier Parker in OTAs. As if a light switch was ﬂipped and the room lit up. The buzz around practice is Parker ﬁnally understand what he means to this team and what his role will be. He is buying into Gase’s vision for him and what it will take to win. He has all the tools to be a breakout receiver in this league. If his attitude and swagger keep him talking a little bit in practice. If that is his way of getting his conﬁdence up then coaches must be salivating.
DeVante Parker is one of those types of players who, if caught with the wrong coach, can get lost in the shufﬂe. Without taking anything away from previous regimes, they did very little to inspire greatness. Now Parker’s ﬁre is being fueled by a coach who is just as passionate, if not more passionate, than the players. With that kind of drive and vision, the third-year receiver ought to ﬁnd his stride. Expect DeVante Parker to be the breakout player for the Miami Dolphins, if not the league in 2017.
Editor’s Note: This article can also be seen in our upcoming NFL Preview Edition.