Following up on the ongoing story
. ... According South Florida Sun-Sentinel staffer Omar Kelly, DeVante Parker
openly admits his confidence has been shaken.
The Dolphins’ 2015 first-round pick has the talent to be a top receiver. But his production this season -- 14 receptions for 225 yards and no touchdowns in five games -- hints he’s more of a role player.
“I’m fighting through adversity and trying to overcome it,” said Parker, who returned to practice this week after spraining the AC joint in his left shoulder in a 31-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 11.
Parker is adamant that yet another injury -- his third of the season -- wasn’t going to shut him down for the season, and he’s laboring to convince the coaching staff that he can play with the injured shoulder.
“It’s about pain tolerance. Sometimes I might run a certain route that hurts it, but the pain goes away,” said Parker, who missed 11 games due to various injuries the past four seasons. “It’s not there consistently, and it’s about how much you can take.”
The Dolphins aren’t taking any chances, considering how thin the receiver unit is with season-ending injuries to Albert Wilson
and Jakeem Grant
. That’s why the Dolphins have Parker and tailback Kenyan Drake
, who is also nursing a shoulder injury, practicing in red, non-contact jerseys that are usually worn by quarterbacks.
“They’re not happy about wearing the red jerseys. The fact that they’re out there and they’re working is good,” head coach Adam Gase said. “We just wanted to make sure that nobody [hits] them practicing, somebody thuds them up and it just sets us back.”
Parker also isn't pleased with where he's at in his career.
Parker has been the seventh most productive receiver out of the 34 wideouts selected in the seven rounds of the 2015 NFL draft. He trails Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs
, who was selected in the fifth round, Dallas’ Amari Cooper
, the first receiver taken, Washington’s Jamison Crowder
, a fourth-rounder, Philadelphia’s Nelson Agholor
, who was taken six picks after Parker in the first round, and Carolina’s Devin Funchess
, a second-round selection.
Three of the six receivers taken in the first round of the 2015 draft have had more disappointing starts than Parker. Kevin White
’s career in Chicago has been derailed by injuries, which explains why he only has 24 career receptions. The Ravens cut Breshad Perriman
coming out of training camp and he’s since latched on with Cleveland. Former Hurricanes standout Phillip Dorsett
hasn’t lived up to expectations with the Colts and now the Patriots, which traded for him in 2017.
To put Parker, who has caught 153 passes for 2,133 yards and scored eight touchdowns in his four seasons, in the disappointment category would be extreme, considering how his entire draft class
has performed. But he’s aware he can’t give his critics more fuel.
“Very important to finish the season, fight through injuries and to play with confidence,” Parker said. “I have to build my confidence back up if I want to be the player I know I can be.”
We'll see how that goes for him; fantasy owners shouldn't get too excited, however.