Star in the making
The Miami Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker finally had his breakout season in 2019, finishing with 72 receptions, 1202 yards, and an average of 16.7 yards per catch. The Dolphins fan base and organization have been anticipating for well over five years to see Parker shine. Miami drafted the 26-year-old in the 2015 NFL Draft with the eleventh pick of the first round.
Monday Fox Sports posted a graphic highlighting New England patriots CB Stephon Gilmore and New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas. The image asked fans and followers, “Which is more difficult?” A. Making a catch while guarded by Stephon Gilmore or B. Break up a pass while guarding Micheal Thomas. On Instagram, the ‘Phins receiver answered A.
That answer seems to have ignited a beef between Thomas and the Dolphins receiver. Parker had a massive performance against Gilmore, who was defending him most of the game. Parker finished with eight catches for 139 yards in the Dolphins’ 27-24 victory. Parker’s 139 receiving yards were the most for any New England contestant this past season, and the reception total was the highest for any opposing receiver.
DeVante Parker got the best of Stephon Gilmore, who lined up across from Parker on 40 of 45 routes (89%).
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 29, 2019
Thomas had an exceptional year for the Saints, and even snapped Marvin Harrison’s single-season receptions record with 149 grabs. In addition, Thomas had a league-best 1,725 receiving yards and was selected to his third straight Pro Bowl.
2020 will be Parkers’ biggest season yet!
There is no question that Thomas has had an overall better career — and quarterback — throughout his career. However, if there were any uncertainties left about Parker’s evolution as an elite receiver in 2019, they should all be gone after what he did against, arguably, the leagues best defender in Gillette Stadium.
Tua + Parker = Wins
Given the team has improved drastically in critical positions, this season should be a coming-out party for Parker. 2020 will allow Parker to solidify himself and earn the respect of the league. Parker will now have the same opportunities as Thomas with Tua Tagovailoa throwing him the ball. Ultimately, Thomas has thrown more fire to a Miami team who is hungry to win and prove they are the new rulers of the AFC.