Ron Parker’s path to the NFL wasn’t always clear. Growing up in St. Helena Island, a small town in South Carolina, Parker started playing the football when he was 17. Nearly a decade later, after experiencing the highest of highs and lowest of lows, Parker finds himself as the center of attention at Chiefs’ mini camp.
Prior to making his way to Kansas City, the Hunting Island native bounced around the NFL, with three stints in Seattle, and one in both Carolina and Oakland, respectively. Parker’s ideal frame at 6 foot tall and nearly 210 pounds, and experience playing in press-man coverage, makes him an intriguing fit in Bob Sutton’s defense. Despite limited opportunities last season, the Newberry College graduate found a way to make a name for himself, playing a role in two game changing plays, racking up two INT’s, one sack and a forced fumble.
With Brandon Flowers’ departure, Parker’s role figures to expand as he is in prime position to secure the number 3 CB position in the Chiefs’ secondary. Heading into the season with a sense of unfamiliarity with the defense isn’t the best feeling for the average fan, but one must remember that John Dorsey prides himself on uncovering hidden talent, and developing that talent internally. Whether or not Parker succeeds in his new role will be the first glimpse we get on whether the new regime can build a successful team with homegrown talent.
Parker’s versatile in that he has experience playing in different spots in the secondary; at Newberry, he caught the eyes of NFL scouts as a safety, but was converted into a full-time cornerback in the NFL.
The issue that comes with propelling Parker to the top of the depth chart is that his limitations are unknown. Although the ability is there, the majority of his NFL snaps were in the nickel, and came with much less responsibility. The Chiefs will need to be careful when testing his limitations in live games. They cannot fall victim to relying heavily on an inexperienced player, as they did last season with Marcus Cooper, which ultimately took a toll on the entire defense.
On a refreshing note, the Chiefs aren’t the only ones who saw potential in Parker. Seattle, widely considered to be one of the most highly regarded front offices in the league, signed and released Parker three times over three years, and always saw enough potential in him to bring him back.
Parker is in the ideal situation, and is in prime position to finally make an impact in the NFL. Parker’s NFL-readiness will be tested, but if you are thinking about hopping on the Ron Parker bandwagon, now is the time. By this time next year, it will likely be full.
John Dorsey was groomed by an NFL front office that made a name for themselves by uncovering hidden talent and converting that talent into production.
With Parker, Dorsey looks to do the same.