Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker impressed at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, but knows he has to work on his physicality to blossom in the NFL.
Devante Parker, the dynamic Louisville wide receiver who turned many eyes at February's NFL Scouting Combine, remembers the first time he became known for making out-of-frame catches.
"Freshman year," Parker said. "Somebody threw me a high pass [in practice]. I just went up and got it."
The simplicity of his answer demonstrates how easy he makes his playmaking look.
In his junior season at Louisville, targeted heavily by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Parker had 55 receptions for 885 yards and 12 touchdowns over the course of a 12 game season.
In 2014, he missed the first seven games of his senior season due to a broken bone in his foot but still managed to produce nearly identical numbers in receptions (43) and yards (855) in just six contests. His biggest performances came against primetime opponents.
Against Florida State, Parker caught eight passes for 214 yards, and several games later tallied three touchdowns along with 180 yards in a thriller against Kentucky. The tape from both of those games, Parker said, should be at the top of scouts' piles.
"I'm a big, physical kind of player," Parker said of his style of play. "I go up and get the ball. I go in the middle. Anywhere, I go and get it."
It also helps that Parker impressed in his combine workouts. The 6-foot-3, 209 pounder ran a 4.45 second 40-yard dash, complemented with a 36.5 inch vertical jump and a 126 inch broad jump.
Check out these photos of DeVante Parker, a lengthy receiver with good hands from the University of Louisville.
It's the kind of speed and strength that will help his transition into the NFL, a place he knows he won't be able to get away with many mistakes.
"I think the defenses in college, they're not as fast as the people in the NFL. So you've got to work harder than you did before to get prepared for the NFL," Parker said. "I believe I can get yards after the catch. I'm able to break tackles. My weakness is probably blocking. I need to work on that."
That's one of the knocks on Parker, a receiver many believe still must adapt to playing against press coverage. The wide receiver is well aware.
"You can't get jammed or anything. Because if you get jammed it's going to mess up the timing with you and the quarterback," Parker said. "So you've got to get a clean release."
Still, Parker's consistency should play to his advantage. Even as a sophomore, Parker recorded 744 receiving yards and scored 10 touchdowns in 13 games. Many see a potential reunion with Teddy Bridgewater (the Vikings have the 11th pick) as a distinct possibility.
It would certainly be an easy transition for him.
"It'd be a good thing. We have a good connection with each other because we played together for about three years," Parker said. "That'd be a good thing if I went there."