Preston Parker… Preston Parker…
If you listen really intently, you might just hear the name Preston Parker being whispered about at Giants training camp. A relative no name to most fans who don’t fall under “die hard” classification, Parker is making grabs all over the practice field, schooling the team’s top defensive back talent. But garnering attention isn’t easy…
Once upon a time, Parker was a talented jack-of-all-trades offensive weapon for Florida State — to the tune of 62 receptions and 52 carries in 2007, lining up wherever he could inflict damage. Then came 2009. After a pair of run-ins with the law in the span of one season, Parker was dismissed from FSU by ‘then’ head coach Bobby Bowden. He would finish up his collegiate career at NCAA Division II North Alabama, and ultimately went undrafted.
An UDFA, Parker appeared to find a home in Tampa Bay during the 2011 season. He was targeted 64 times, caught 40 passes out of the slot and racked up 315 yards after the catch.
So was a matchup nightmare being uncovered before the NFL’s eyes in the heat of Florida? Not exactly. When head coach Raheem Morris was fired after the 2011 season, and disciplinarian (gentlest way to phrase it) Greg Schiano took over the reins in 2012, Parker’s progress and escalation up the depth chart was all but eradicated. With the snap of a finger.
Maybe it was Parker’s history of off-field troubles that put him out of favor with Schiano… or maybe it was his struggle to collect punts cleanly; whatever it was, Parker never got a chance to build on his wide receiver momentum. He was targeted twice in 2012 before getting his release from Tampa. He was then brought aboard on a reserve contract by New Orleans in January of 2013, but never cracked the regular season active roster.
Fast forward to July 2014, and a now 27-year old Parker is making noise at Giants camp. Signed to a two-year $1.23 million contract this offseason, can Parker impress his way onto a roster saturated with slot talent? Mr. Connor Hughes of Big Blue View is taking notice. What say you, Giants Nation — is Big Blue’s newest #83 for real? Can he stick around, or is he just another training camp sensation and hopeful preseason prodigy in the making?
Pretty back-shoulder grab by Preston Parker. Nassib on throw #Giants
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) July 28, 2014