DeVante Parker 'close' to living his dream

Former University of Louisville All-American wide receiver worked out in front of over 80 NFL scouts during the program's annual Pro Day on Wednesday

Departing University of Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker knows how to draw a crowd.

The All-American was among 18 former Cardinals that worked out during the program's Pro Day on Wednesday morning. The result? More than 80 NFL scouts, plus three head coaches, made their way to the Derby City to see Louisville's next first round draft product.

Having performed well at the NFL Combine held in Indianapolis, last month, Parker kept his workout simple, running routes and catch passes throw by former Cardinal quarterback Brian Brohm. He was perfect in his varying routes, making crisp cuts and catching everything throw his way. His ability to run routes with precision and haul in passes lived up to the expectations that developed during his career at Louisville.

What took some scouts by surprise, was Parker's size. The product of Louisville Ballard measured in at 6-foot-3, 209-pounds at the combine and he was every bit of that during his Pro Day workout.

“[I wanted to] focus on my routes, my technique and trying to be in shape,” he said. “That's all today was about.”

Parker posted a 40-yard time of 4.45 and was a top ten performer among receivers in the bench press, broad jump and vertical jump at the combine.

“I felt like I did a good time at the combine,” he explained. “My 40 time was pretty good, so I just wanted to come out here and work on my routes and I'd be fine.”

Projected as first round pick by all draft projections, Parker is visiting with multiple franchises. He had dinner with Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on Monday night, who also made sure to visit with Parker's parents at Pro Day.

“I've talked with the Dolphins, the Vikings, all sorts of teams,” said Parker, who's also visited with the San Francisco 49er's and San Diego Chargers.

The possibility of Parker reuniting with former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota is a possibility. The Vikings management have discussed their desire for a wide receiver in the upcoming draft and multiple projections have Parker being the team's first round choice.

“That would be a good match-up, being back with Teddy,” he said. “We have a good connection, so it would be real special to get back with him.”

While he continues to prepare for his future on the gridiron, Parker has already benefited from his talent, signing multiple endorsement deals, most notably with adidas.

“It feels good to sign with adidas,” he said. “I signed a nice contract and I'm looking forward to it.”

He'll leave Friday for Miami where he'll continue to prepare for the draft that begins on April 30. A fan of the New Orleans Saints growing up, Parker doesn't have any team preferences as the time nears.

“I just want to get drafted and where ever I go, perform well,” he said.

After dreaming about it as a child and making it a a goal that he never strayed from, Parker's couldn't hide his smile when asked about the reality of his dream coming true.

“It's real close,” he said. “I've been thinking about since I was young. Watching people get drafted and thinking that could be me one day and now it's going to happen.”

While he missed half of his senior season due to a foot injury, Parker ended his career ranking among the best to play the position at Louisville. His 33 career touchdowns is tied with Ibn Green for most in school history, while he ranks among the top ten in career receptions, total yards and yards per catch.


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