A New England prospect is on the Patriots’ radar ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Wide receiver Aaron Parker, who played his college ball an hour south of Gillette Stadium at Rhode Island, video-chatted with the Patriots last week.
“I got on FaceTime with the Patriots probably about four days ago,” Parker told WPRI’s Yianni Kourakis on Tuesday. “Me and the wide receivers coach talked about how I’m doing through these times, how I’m still training. He wanted to break down some film with me, break down some coverages — just seeing how I am doing. Embracing the process, stuff like that.”
— Yianni Kourakis (@YianniKourakis) April 7, 2020
Parker, a Maryland native, and the rest of the URI football team visited Patriots training camp last summer, giving him an early window into New England’s practice habits.
“When we went down there to the Patriots, it was a great experience, just seeing a championship-contending team that’s always up there in the playoffs, playing for Super Bowls and stuff,” he told Kourakis. Just seeing how they go about practice, (you) try to take some of those habits, take it to the field and do it yourself, because that’s what you want to be at the end (of the day).”
Parker isn’t likely to hear his name called until the later rounds of the draft — if he’s drafted at all — but his skill set could interest the Patriots.
Measuring in at 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, he performed well in agility drills at the NFL Scouting Combine, running a 6.94-second three-cone drill (tied for second-best among wideouts) and a 4.23-second short shuttle (fifth). His jumps left much to be desired (dead last in vertical and broad), but scouting reports applaud his contested-catch ability and ball skills, which NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein called “fantastic.”
“Parker’s high school basketball background shows up on 50/50 throws,” Zierlein wrote in the receiver’s NFL.com draft profile. “His body control, timing and hand strength translate on any level of football. He’s not fast and is too content to win in the air rather than with clever route running. He’s instinctive working zone-beaters underneath and his toughness as a run blocker will earn him points. He’s a talented ball-winner as a big slot, but a lack of long speed and separation quickness make improved route-running a top priority for his step up in competition.”
Parker devoured lower-level defenses in the Football Championship Subdivision, totaling 3,460 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns while averaging more than 15 yards per catch in each of his four collegiate seasons. He led his conference in receiving as a junior and senior and posted an impressive 81-1,224-9 line in 2019, including five catches for 64 yards against Virginia Tech and nine for 144 and a touchdown against Ohio.
Fellow Rhode Island wideout Isaiah Coulter, Parker’s teammate and cousin, also attended the combine. Coulter is the more highly touted of the two, with The Athletic’s Dane Brugler projecting him as a fourth-round draft pick.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images