How Trade For DeVante Parker Will Impact The Patriots Moving Forward

DeVante Parker, Patriots
NFL Analysis Network

One of the biggest areas of need facing the New England Patriots this offseason was the wide receiver position. For years, Bill Belichick and Co. have tried to surround their quarterback with legitimate talent on the outside. And for years, they’ve failed to do so.

Fast forward to the 2022 offseason, and the Pats are still looking for legitimate weapons for their offense. This time around, they’ve made their biggest swing yet, trading a third-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for former first-round pick DeVante Parker.

On the surface, Parker is an upgrade at the position. But is he the true No. 1 receiver that New England has been searching for? Not quite.

Parker had a breakout campaign in 2019, hauling in 72 receptions for 1,202 yards (16.7 yards per catch) and nine touchdowns. He also started 14 games that season, a career-high for Parker. In every other season of his seven-year career, Parker has averaged 3.4 receptions and 45.43 receiving yards per game. His season averages (excluding 2019) come out to 44.3 receptions, 587.5 receiving yards, and 2.5 touchdowns per year.

Jakobi Meyers, the Patriots’ primary slot receiver, is hardly a household name at this point in his career. Yet, his per-game stats are right on par with Parker’s. Meyers averages 3.65 receptions and 42.5 yards per game for his career.

Parker is still a fine addition to a receiver corps that was lacking any real playmakers, but he doesn’t bring enough to the table to truly move the needle for New England’s offense.

On top of Parker’s inconsistent production, the biggest red flag is his injury history. The only year in which Parker played in all 16 games was in 2019. On average, Parker starts 9.14 games per year.

When healthy, Parker can still be an efficient weapon for any offense. Per Pro Football Focus, Parker has averaged an overall grade of 73.72 per season. The key is his health, though. If Parker continues to miss time every year, he just won’t be that valuable, regardless of what his production looks like when he is healthy.

At the end of the day, while this move does give Mac Jones a reliable target on the outside to work with, the Patriots still need more. Parker isn’t a game changing type of receiver who can lift the level of play from his peers. Look for New England to continue scouring the wide receiver market this offseason, and don’t be shocked if they still use one of their high picks on another wideout.