The PhinPhanatic staff will recap each Miami Dolphins player from 2016 as we await the start of NFL free agency. Today, we highlight DeVante Parker.
The Miami Dolphins 2015 first round selection DeVante Parker had a rough start to his career, but showed in 2016 that he was a pivotal part of the offense alongside Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills. He has battled injuries in each of his first two seasons, including hamstring strains in both legs that he suffered in training camp prior to the start of the 2016 season. As a result, he was declared inactive for Week 1 this year, but he did appear in every game after that for Miami. Despite some mixed results, it was a year of improvement for the second-year wideout.
Parker may not have yet lived up to his first round billing, but he showed in year 2 that he is a major asset to the Dolphins offense with a ton of potential. Things did not start out that way, however. Parker’s hamstring issues kept him out much of training camp and OTA’s. After the Dolphins announced that Parker would miss their final preseason game, head coach Adam Gase challenged Parker to get tougher.
Parker could have easily played the victim, but instead accepted coach Gase’s challenge. In Week 2 against the Patriots, Parker made his season debut, and statistically, had his best game of the season. The Dolphins fell short of an epic comeback that day, but Parker was a big reason for getting Miami back in the game.
Parker could not maintain that level of consistency, however, throughout the season. After his eight reception, 106-yard performance against the Pats, Parker reeled in just seven receptions the following three games combined, and had just one other 100-yard game.
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It was a year of improvement for Parker, but it’s clear he is still raw in some areas. His 56 receptions for 744 yards and four touchdowns were obvious improvements from his rookie year, but not the jump that the Dolphins were hoping for. Part of that was injuries but also because Stills had an excellent second season with Miami, and therefore, jumped Parker on the depth chart.
It remains to be seen if Stills will be back with Miami as he is an unrestricted free agent, and will be highly coveted across the league. The Dolphins were at their best with their top three receivers on the field, and would love nothing more than to reunite them again in 2017. If they are unable to retain Stills, however, it would essentially make Parker the “clear-cut” No. 2 receiver once again.
Either way, Parker’s role in Miami should grow considerably in 2017. With the help of coach Gase and his teammates, Parker will look to be more consistent week-to-week, and to get better at the little things. Look for Parker to have the breakout season many had anticipated he would have this year.