The New England Patriots came into the offseason needing to upgrade their pass catchers for the 2022 season. They did just that when they acquired DaVante Parker from their AFC East rivals, the Miami Dolphins.
Parker can be a true No. 1 receiver, possessing the size and skill to dominate on the perimeter. However, there have been a few factors holding him back from achieving that. One has been injuries, as Parker has missed multiple games in all but two of his professional seasons.
Another thing that has worked against him is inconsistency at the quarterback position. He has had numerous starters during his tenure with the Dolphins, making it difficult to build chemistry and cohesion.
He is hoping that is no longer an issue now that he will be catching passes from Mac Jones, who is entering his second season in the NFL. So far so good from Parker’s perspective, as he praised his new signal caller’s leadership.
“He’s a leader. He’s a young guy, but he’s vocal as a leader. That’s what this team needs,” Parker said following Tuesday’s workout, via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “I’ve been out here (only) a few weeks, but I see it.”
Jones has been leading the teams in drills, which is always a great thing to see. He is setting the tone for his teammate during voluntary sessions, which will carry over into the mandatory ones and eventually in games.
The relationship between Parker and Jones will be an important one this season. Jones has to have confidence that he can throw a ball up and Parker will be there to come down with it, something they have been working on a lot.
“If he likes what he sees,” said Parker, “it builds up confidence in him, to have confidence in me to throw the ball up.”
The addition of Parker brings an added dimension to a Patriots offense that relied heavily on their run game last season. Jones was mostly an upper echelon game manager, but if they want to take that next step this season, he will be asked to do more within the offense.
With the weapons that he now has at his disposal, Jones has a chance to take that next step in his development.