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DeVante Parker has been one of Mac Jones’s most consistent targets in training camp so far this summer.
He’s yet to demonstrate the potential he once flashed with the Dolphins over a season-long basis here in New England, but the Patriots believed in him enough to sign him to a 3-year, $33 million contract extension this offseason.
His critics say he doesn’t get enough separation from defensive backs, and the NFL’s NextGen stats appear to back that up. He ranked last in the league in the NFL’s separation metric last season.
While some people value these kinds of statistics, Patriots receivers coach Troy Brown told reporters, including MassLive’s Chris Mason, that he isn’t much of a believer in them.
“I didn’t know there was a stat in the league that kept track of separation, so I don’t really understand that part of it. When I came into the league it was two things: Get open and catch the ball,” said Brown, who was drafted by the Patriots 30 years ago. “So that’s all that really matters to me. If you can do those things, I don’t really keep up with the rest of it.”
Parker’s best season was with Miami in 2019, when he caught 72 passes for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. He hasn’t topped 800 yards in a season since, partially because injuries have kept him out of at least three games per season since 2020.
As the Patriots search for more production out of the wide receiver position this season, Parker appears to be a big part of their plans.
“DeVante has always been a receiver that’s been pretty explosive even down in Miami,” Brown said. “Made some big plays down there for his football team as well. He’s making some plays down the field here in camp. Hopefully, he can continue to do that as the season goes on for us.”
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