DeVante Parker was turning heads while tearing up OTAs earlier this summer. Then, he had surgery on his foot to replace the screw from a surgery he had that kept him out of the majority of his senior year at Louisville last year. The surgery was precautionary, but still caught many people off guard. His projected return? Week 1 against the Redskins after sitting out the regular season and training camp.
James Gould, Parker’s agent, recently told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that “everything is perfect” with Parker’s recovery after surgery. He is still on track for opener against Washington, but it is still too soon whether Parker will play in a preseason game. He definitely won’t be participating on the field at training camp.
How should the Dolphins proceed with Parker’s injury? Personally, I think the Dolphins should proceed with caution. The New York Giants showed the league last year that the best option is to wait until an injured rookie is completely healthy before setting him loose. No, I am not saying that Parker will have the same rookie year as Odell Beckham Jr, but part of the reason Odell was so good last year was that he didn’t play injured or risk getting reinjured. He waited until he was healthy enough to play, even though it took time.
The Dolphins have depth at the wide receiver position too. Yes, I think Parker will end up being their best wide receiver, but the Dolphins can afford to play without him for a couple of weeks. They have a veteran in Greg Jennings, a rising sophomore in Jarvis Landry, and a homerun hitter in Kenny Stills. They also have Jordan Cameron, who can lineup anywhere on the field, and Dion Sims who became a viable pass catcher last season. The Dolphins have players that can pick up the slack.
However, it looks like DeVante Parker should be ready to go the start of the regular season. He should absolutely not play in training camp or even preseason, but should be spending the time he’s missing on the field in the weight room and in the classroom. The sooner he comes familiar with Bill Lazor’s offense, the easier his transition will be once he’s ready to go, despite his delayed start.