DeVante Parker didn’t have to wait very long on Thursday night to hear his name called. However, the road to that point began at an early age, with things becoming serious his sophomore year of college. During his introductory press conference, Parker talked about the journey he took to get to the NFL.
“I would say, sophomore year I thought I had a pretty good season and that’s when I started to get noticed a lot I would say. I have Teddy Bridgewater with me though, they say he’s the reason I had a pretty good season.”
Parker would suffer a foot injury his senior year, which caused him to miss seven games. However, he said that he wasn’t too worried about the situation because he put a lot of hard work in during the rehab process and knew that he would come back and still continue to produce at a high level. General Manager Dennis Hickey agreed with Parker’s assessment and said that they have no concerns about his foot moving forward.
“We rely on our medical staff as they do the orthopedic exams and all those things at the combine and at the re-checks. We rely on them for that and we were impressed that, one, that he came back for his senior year to play for his college team and also that he came back from an injury and played at a high level. If you watch those games, you know Florida State, Kentucky. If you watch Georgia, the bowl game, you see him after the injury, after the foot injury, you saw how he could perform, you saw the talent, you saw the resilience that DeVante has.”
Once Parker graduated from Louisville, he started training for the NFL Combine in Miami and said he was well prepared for everything that came his way during the months leading up to the draft.
“I think it helped me a lot and helped me prepare for the combine. Everything we did in there, we were prepared for it, so we knew we were ahead. He (Pete Bommarito) prepared us for it from then until now. I think I gained a little bit of speed, a little more endurance and things like that. I’d say it all worked out in the end.”
With the combine and pro day in the rearview mirror, it was then time for the NFL Draft. While sitting in the green room on Thursday night, Parker thought that the Minnesota Vikings would draft him but when they picked cornerback Trae Waynes, Parker said he had confidence that Miami was going to pick him up. Of course, he was thrilled with that and after he was selected, he talked about what kind of player the Dolphins would be getting, even comparing himself to A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals.
“A big, strong, physical receiver. A playmaker who can go up and get jump balls and just a good guy to be around. Very intelligent.
Once he took care of everything in Chicago, Parker became a very busy man. That’s because he jumped on the airplane on Thursday evening around 9:00 PM and landed in Miami around 2:30 AM. He arrived at the facility several hours later and was busy throughout the entire day.
“It is a very nice place to be. I’m glad that they picked me to be a part of this organization. I just love this place. I was here training for about a month or two. I just love the atmosphere here, and I love the city. They had a confidence in me to pick me up for their first round draft pick at 14. I just want to show them that I’m here to do the work and whatever it takes to have a good season with them. I’m looking forward to my first season with the Miami Dolphins.”
The road may have been a long one but in the end, it was well worth it.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs