Parker Looking to Make an Impact

After battling injuries for most of the 2004 NFL season, Oregon wide receiver Samie Parker found his way onto the field the last four games and started to show what that track speed could produce on the football field. Thus far in the OTA's, Parker has been the star of the offense and the Chiefs hope that effort continues in September whent the games really count.

No one is really worried about the Chiefs' offense entering the 2005 season. The unit has ranked near the top of the NFL standings in total offense ever since offensive coordinator Al Saunders arrived in Kansas City. With all the footballs that have been flying around Arrowhead Stadium recently, is there actually a chance that the Chiefs' offense could be even more explosive this season? If the recent mini-camps are any indicator, it just might be.

Despite all their success in recent years, the Chiefs have lacked a speed receiver who can stretch defenses. Saunders makes up for the liability with innovative game plans and exploiting match ups but think of what Saunders can come up with if the Chiefs add a speed receiver into the mix. Someone to challenge defenses vertically and help keep defenders from ganging up on Tony Gonzalez and Eddie Kennison. That someone could very well be second-year receiver Samie Parker.

The Chiefs drafted Parker in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft out of the University of Oregon. Parker finished his college career with 178 receptions for 2,761 yards and 19 touchdowns, while also serving on the Ducks' track team. The Chiefs drafted Parker because they thought his speed would add a new dimension to their offense. While he was expected to contribute as a rookie, Parker was slowed for most of the 2004 season with a hamstring injury. Parker came on late in the year, catching nine passes for 137 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs' final three games.

Parker's late season success prompted optimism for the upcoming season. As Warpaint Illustrated's Nick Athan has been reporting from Chiefs camp, the Chiefs do have reason to be optimistic about Parker's prospects for the 2005 season. According to Athan, Parker has been the offensive star in Chiefs' camp so far making acrobatic catches and using his speed to separate from cornerbacks. With the expected release of Johnnie Morton next week, Parker is making his case to be the starter opposite Kennison when the season opens up.

If you look at the receivers on the Chiefs' roster, it appears that Parker has a good chance to nail down the starting job. Dante Hall can score any time he touches the ball but he is inconsistent as a receiver and far more valuable to the Chiefs as a return man. After showing promise two years ago, Marc Boerigter has been a disappointment in Kansas City. Boerigter doesn't appear to be a good fit as a starting wide receiver. A lot of people are high on rookie Craphonso Thorpe but it is unlikely that Thorpe is going to be in the starting lineup when the season begins. Thorpe has talent but rarely do rookie receivers come in and make a huge impact. With a year of training camp and off-season workouts under his belt, Parker is further along than Thorpe is and that will be to his advantage. Chris Horn is another possibility but again, he doesn't seem to have the overall skills to be a starter in the NFL. If you look at all the options currently on the Chiefs' roster, Parker has a good chance of starting if he continues to play well in training camp and the pre-season.

Of course no one is saying that those will be the only receivers on the Chiefs' roster when training camp starts. There is a possibility that the Chiefs could bring in a receiver who gets cut after June 1st. Some of the bigger name players who may be let go include Peerless Price, Rod Gardner, Koren Robinson and Joey Galloway. If one of those players is available for the right price and the Chiefs bring them aboard, Parker's chances of being a starter will most likely be gone but that doesn't mean he won't be a big part of the offense. Whether he starts or not, Parker has the speed and big-play ability to be productive for the Chiefs.

Outside of Kansas City and Oregon, most people probably have never heard of Samie Parker. That may not be the case at the end of the NFL season. Parker has been a shinning star for the Chiefs this off-season and he has something the Kansas City offense needs: speed. The term "starter" gets overused in today's NFL. A majority of the time offenses today run three or four wide receiver sets, so whether a player technically starts or not is irrelevant.

Samie Parker will get his chance to make plays for the Chiefs this season and if he continues to improve, he will make the Chiefs' offense even more explosive than it already is. A scary thought for opposing defenses.

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