Preston Parker is a player who was unexpectedly productive for the New York Giants in 2014. In 2015, he is one who will have to fight to keep his spot on the 53-man roster. Let's look closer at the veteran wide receiver as we continue our series of player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp in less than three weeks.
2014 Season in Review
Out of the league in 2013 and desperate enough to spend part of his time away from the game building Tiki huts to bring in money, Parker resuscitated his career after signing a reserve/futures contract with the Giants. He took advantage of his chances when injuries struck the receiving corps.
Parker may have only made the team because Marcus Harris went on season-ending IR during the preseason. He got opportunities to play when Odell Beckham missed the first four games, Jerrel Jernigan went down after two games with a season-ending foot injury and Victor Cruz went down in the sixth game with a torn patellar tendon.
Thinking about what Parker accomplished in 2014, he basically did for the Giants what they always hoped Jernigan would do but never did. He was a solid option as a wide receiver, catching 36 passes. He also handled punt and kickoff returns capably, average 24.2 yards on kickoff returns and 6.6 on punt returns.
2015 Season Outlook
Nothing is ever guaranteed in the NFL, and despite having had a sold year in 2014 Parker is far from guaranteed a roster spot for the upcoming season. The Giants signed free-agent Dwayne Harris to handle returns and be an extra receiver, basically replacing Parker in those roles. Cruz should return. Harris is back once again competing for a roster spot. The Giants drafted Geremy Davis in the sixth round. They still have fan favorite Corey Washington. Undrafted free agent Ben Edwards impressed during the spring. Juron Criner, Julian Talley and Chris Harper all have some NFL experience.
Thus, Parker is right back to needing to prove to the Giants that he belongs on the team in 2015.
Wide receivers coach Sean Ryan said he thought Parker, who now has 80 career receptions in four NFL seasons, had an excellent spring.
"I thought Preston made some great strides, in particular playing in the slot," Ryan said. "He is seeing things a little bit better. He is seeing defenses, reacting to blitzes better, so I thought Preston did a great job."
Parker could provide the Giants insurance in the return game, as well as both inside and outside as a receiver. His future, though, might depend on the comfort level of the organization with some of the younger players he will be competing with.