Sean Parker Evaluation
With only broadcast video available to most of us as draftniks, one of the toughest spots to get the proper feel for is the safety position. You can go through three or four games and not see a safety do much more than occasionally run onto your screen late when the play has basically already run its course. That’s not the case with Washington safety Sean Parker. This is mainly due to the fact that Parker has proved himself to be quite versatile. He’s dropped into single high, played “in the box” and has lined up against wide receivers in the slot.
It’s not always just a matter of Parker being in our line of sight due to alignment. He finds a way to jump off your screen. While Sean Parker is listed at just 5’11, 190 pounds, he appears to have a very thick build, and knows how to pack a punch. Not only is Parker a violent hitter, but he has very good closing speed. Parker’s explosive hitting and closing speed were both on display in the following clip:
Another thing to note with Parker was his transition. As mentioned, sometimes when a safety is in a deep alignment, it’s tough to get a great feel for their transition skills. While Parker’s footwork in the above clip wasn’t buttery smooth, his hip transition was very natural. In part due to Parker’s footwork and lack of great overall speed (not just closing speed), he needs to prove that he is capable of consistently separating the ball and receiver. The two photos below showcase a sequence in which Parker was able to do so with good transition timing, physicality, the ability to track the football, and time his launch.
The clip below shows another example, where once again, Parker’s closing speed, timing, and hitting ability come into play when separating the receiver and the football:
Another area where Parker shows skills is when it comes time to drive on the football. The term is most consistently used in referring to pass defense, but it can be extrapolated to run defense as well. In terms of run defense, it’s about the ability to explode downhill, compose yourself, and make an efficient tackle. While Parker sometimes finds trouble by going for the knockout blow, he shows an ability to get downhill with aggression, and deliver a pop. The clip below is a strong example of what I’m talking about:
As previously alluded to, the ability to drive on the football is more about recognizing the route in front of you, exploding forward, and either timing your hit, or showing the body control to make a play on the football. The following play sequence exemplifies these qualities in Parker.
Parker was able to conclude this play with a diving interception.
While Parker’s an impressive player, his size does have its detriments. Seeing as how Parker is not overly gifted in terms of range, he's likely going to be a strong safety who plays in the box a good deal at the next level. In this area, Parker must improve at managing blocks. While it’s very rare to see safeties take on blocks and shed, Parker needs to either get better at navigating around them, or mitigating the blows he takes. Below is an example of what happens too frequently; he gets stuck on blocks.
In addition, there are times in which larger receivers or tight ends are simply able to box out Parker, and prevent him from making plays on the ball. Parker will also take some ambition angles on the ball while it’s in the air, which he simply doesn’t have the adequate length for.
While Parker is somewhat limited in terms of his overall skillset, I do think that he’s going to be very attractive to a good number of teams due to his versatility, run defense, and big play ability. Measurements will be important to Parker’s stock, but I believe he will be a Top 100 pick barring a poor season, with the potential to elevate his stock as high as the Top 50.
All videos and images courtesy of draftbreakdown.com