Miami (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Dolphins made a big splash Thursday night at the NFL draft by taking Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker with the 14th overall pick.
“He was by far the best player available for us,” general manager Dennis Hickey said. “When he was still there at 14, there were a lot of high fives. We were very excited to make the selection.”
The pick was the latest move in the Dolphins’ revamping of their cast of targets for Ryan Tannehill.
“I know he has a strong arm and is a very good quarterback,” Parker said.
The Fins basically wiped out their receiving corps from the 2014 season. The team cut ties with Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson – three wideouts that had been staples the last few years.
Parker will be playing alongside Kenny Stills, who the Dolphins traded with the New Orleans Saints for, Jarvis Landry, who had a solid rookie season in 2014, and veteran Greg Jennings.
Parker missed the first seven games of his senior season with a foot injury, and then caught 43 passes for 855 yards and five touchdowns in the final six games. He tied the Louisville record for career touchdown receptions with 33, and had 10 100-yard games. Parker dropped just three passes in his final three seasons of his college career.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Parker was the third wideout taken in a draft considered deep at the position. The Dolphins chose him over Central Florida receiver Breshad Perriman, who has more big-play potential but is prone to dropping passes.
“He’s athletic, he has length and excellent body control, he’s excellent in the red zone, a jump-ball target, and brings a lot of things as an outside receiver that we value,” Hickey said.
The biggest knock on Parker has been that he’s not a physical receiver and not a good blocker.
He was among the prospects the Dolphins invited to Miami for a visit.
“They brought me in like I was already part of the team,” the Louisville native said. “I always wanted to live in Miami. I’m looking forward to it.”
Parker and the Dolphins said he has fully recovered from his foot injury.
The two most recent receivers taken in the first round by Miami were Ted Ginn Jr. in 2007 and Yatil Green in 1997, both busts with the Dolphins. But they hit last year on second-round pick Jarvis Landry, who led the team in catches as a rookie.
The draft was the Dolphins’ first with Mike Tannenbaum, their new executive vice president of football operations, who sat between Hickey and owner Stephen Ross while they mulled their decision.
The Dolphins decided against trading down even though they have only two of the first 113 picks. They lost their third-round pick in the Stills trade with New Orleans.
“We were getting phone calls from people offering some pretty interesting things,” Ross said.
Miami remained in the market for help at cornerback, guard and linebacker.
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