It what's become another deep wide receiver class Louisville's DeVante Parker is among the best. The 49ers, in what has become a theme over the last few years, seem to be in position to at least strongly consider selecting a receiver in the first two rounds. This, despite the signing of former Raven Torrey Smith.
More specifically, the 49ers seemed primed to grab a big physical receiver who can provide them with a legitimate red zone threat. There are several in the class and Parker's ball skills arguably make him the best.
Arm Length: 33 ¾"
Hands: 9 1/4"
Bench: 17 reps
Vertical Jump: 36.5"
Broad Jump: 125"
- As mentioned above, Parker's ball skills are second to none. He's consistently demonstrated an uncanny ability to pluck the ball out of the air with defenders around him.
- Noticeably large catch radius. Additionally, Parker can really help QBs who tend to miss high to either side.
- Excellent hands catcher. Rarely let's ball travel to his body.
- Above average ability with the ball in his hands. Can make enough plays to be dangerous gaining yards after the catch.
- Plus quickness in and out of breaks and enough speed to make an impact.
- Plays bigger than his 209lbs indicates. Doesn't go down easy and he consistently runs hard.
- Above average route runner but will need some refining.
- Versatility. Lined up outside on both the right and left sides and also lined up in the slot.
- Durability could be a concern if we're knit picking.
- He demonstrated several times he could handle press coverage in college, against some really good corners too, but not consistently. When Parker does struggle it's also against press coverage, something he'll likely see a ton of at the next level.
- He's a willing blocker, but will need to coached up.
Doing your homework:
Check out Parker's game against Florida State below. Parker faced two future NFL corners in P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby and he more than holds his own going for 214 yards on eight catches. You can also see games against Kentucky, Miami and a few others over at DraftBreakdown.com.
Why he fits the 49ers:
The 49ers signed Torrey Smith and return veteran Anquan Boldin. But they don't have much proven, sustainable depth behind them. Michael Crabtree appears to have played his last game as a 49er and there isn't a young potential number one receiver on the roster. It just makes sense to draft a wide receiver in the first round.
When you consider the options likely to be available at pick 15, it's possible DeVante Parker is available. He'd get a year or two to learn from Boldin and would provide the 49ers with what would appear to be a solid three-wide core (at least on paper) with Smith and Parker on the outside, and Bruce Ellington in the slot.
Parker would also give he 49ers a true red zone threat, a threat they've sorely missed over the last few years.
Why he might not fit the 49ers:
While there's no denying Parker's ability and skill set, wide receiver isn't the top need for the 49ers. I'm not a fan of drafting for need early in the draft, but I am a fan of drafting for need when you can also get one of the top prospects at a position in the draft. Like one of the top two corners. Or possibly one of the top four or five pass rushers. Or maybe the top inside linebacker.
Point is, there are some needs on this roster but the 9ers are in a good spot at pick 15. They can fill another, more pressing need and still grab a solid receiver in the second or even third rounds.
What they're saying:
- NFL.Com Daniel Jeremiah ranks Parker as his number two wide receiver and the number nine overall prospects. "I think he's a phenomenal football player and very deserving of being a top-10 pick. In this draft, we have three big-time wide receivers, and when you put them all together, DeVante Parker very much belongs in that discussion."
- Conversely, NFL Films ‘ Greg Cosell compared Parker to former 9er wide out Michael Crabtree.
- 49ers also reportedly met with Parker earlier this month.
- Check out Parker's stats at cfbstats.com
Parker was my top receiver back in January. I haven't finalized my updated rankings, yet, but it's safe to say he'll still be in the top two. The natural ability Parker demonstrates for finding, adjusting to, and catching the ball are too impressive to ignore.
With some refining to his route running, footwork, and blocking Parker could be on the fast track to stardom. He has the ability to line up and create mismatches anywhere on the field with the biggest question mark coming in how he'll handle big, physical press corners. Parker's ability to make tough catches makes him one of those receivers who's always open, even with a defender in his pocket.