Louisville Cardinals star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater declared for the 2014 NFL Draft and will likely be the first player taken off the board, but his top wide receiver isn’t going to declare. DeVante Parker tweeted yesterday that he will spend one more year with the Cardinals, and it’s a move that doesn’t come as a surprise.
Although Parker is talented enough to declare for the draft, staying in school for his senior year was clearly the best decision for him. He needs to have another strong season of tape on him, and he could use the added polish. Charlie Strong will do a great job of developing Parker further, and it will be interesting to see how he fares out without Bridgewater at QB.
Parker is a solid wide receiver prospect who does an amazing job of catching contested passes in traffic with his 6’3″ frame, and he’s one of the best red zone targets in college football. This is a guy who tied Louisville’s record for the most receiving touchdowns in a single season, and those 12 TDs aren’t to be taken lightly.
That said, he doesn’t have the long speed or the tools of the first-round prospects at the position (like Marqise Lee), and Parker clearly has first round aspirations. If he wants to be selected that high, then a year in school could help him get to that level if he’s able to have another great year. I think he compares favorable with Texas A&M draft prospect Mike Evans, in that they both have great size, are great at catching passes in traffic and in the red zone, and they make up for a lack of speed with quickness and route-running.
The only way Parker would have declared is if he was ranked as a first-round prospect by the advisory committee, which was never going to happen. Not only does the advisory committee give out lower grades on purpose, but Parker isn’t that good anyway. While there were still some rumblings that Parker could declare, those have all been put to rest.