New England Patriots wide receiver DeVante Parker joined the franchise looking to take advantage of a fresh start in a new environment. While there is still a full 2022 NFL season ahead, the 6-foot-3 wideout is already making a strong impression in training camp.
Parker came to New England in an offseason trade along with a 2022 fifth-round pick in a deal that sent the Patriots’ 2023 third-round selection to the Miami Dolphins. While some viewed it as an overpay at the time, especially for a franchise with a shaky track record as of late at wide receiver, Bill Belichick wanted Parker.
Selected 14th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, Parker has flashed exceptional talent at times. After combining for just 2,217 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in his first 53 career games, the Louisville alum exploded in 2019.
- DeVante Parker stats (2019): 72 receptions, 1,202 receiving yards and nine touchdowns
Injuries and sporadic quarterback play often prevented Parker from fully reaching his potential in Miami. Seemingly in a better situation this season, he is quickly making an impression on those watching Patriots’ practices.
Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus attended multiple Patriots’ practices and noted how heavily involved Parker was inside the red zone and how well he performed at the goal line.
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Parker isn’t just making an impression on reporters. He is also showing early chemistry with quarterback Mac Jones and their growing rapport is on display during practice.
Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston wrote that Parker pulled down multiple touchdowns during 7-on-7 drills and made a contested catch against cornerback Terrance Mitchell, each time showing off that connection with Jones.
It’s everything the Patriots’ coaching staff wanted to see right out of the gate and it bodes well for the Jones-Parker connection this season. Of course, talent isn’t really the question. Whether or not the offseason move is viewed as a successful trade will be determined by Parker’s ability to stay healthy this fall.
If he sticks on the field, New England has its new No. 1 wide receiver and he’ll be under contract through the 2023 season, too. Any significant injury, though, would make this another whiff at wide receiver by Belichick.