‘Confident’ A.J. Parker Opens Eyes Early in Rookie Year With Lions

AJ Parker

Getty AJ Parker runs to tackle a player from TCU in 2018.

The Detroit Lions may have found something great in the form or rookie cornerback A.J. Parker, and with depth an issue at the position, Parker might now have an inside track to continuing his dominance early in his NFL career.

Parker has played a significant role for the Lions early on this season, and when he has, he hasn’t looked out of place at all in the league. Early on in his career, Parker has had a very strong start for the Lions as the results have shown on the field.

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So far this season, Parker is grading favorably in terms of Pro Football Focus. The site has him ranked as the second-highest graded rookie cornerback in the league at this point, taking home a 75.0 rating through his first few weeks of action on the field.

So far, that’s a red hot start for the rookie, and it’s telling that Detroit’s undrafted free agent has such favorable marks. That speaks to the ability of Brad Holmes to identify talent, especially considering Parker slipped through the cracks in the NFL Draft.

Parker’s Confidence High Playing With Lions

Coming into the NFL for the first time can be overwhelming for players, but Parker seems to have the right approach. While he admitted to the media this week in an interview posted to DetroitLions.com on Thursday, September 23 that the game has changed from camp to the preseason and now to the regular season, it hasn’t caused a

“My confidence is high. I’ve been playing football for a long time, and it’s been a dream of mine since I’ve been a little kid. So I just want to come in here and make the most of every opportunity I can get,” he said.

So far, Parker seems to have learned a valuable early lesson. Succeeding in the NFL is all about confidence, and that’s advice he admitted he shares with other young players who are learning the ropes with him such as Bobby Price, who could be primed for a big role in Week 3.

“Football’s a game of confidence, especially out there playing defensive back,” Parker said. “Confidence is key and you need confidence to go out there and play your best game, so I told him to trust in himself and play with the utmost confidence and he’ll be fine.”

Parker is clearly wise beyond his years, which could make him a formidable player for the Lions when combined with his obvious talent.

Parker’s College Stats and Highlights

In college playing for Kansas State, Parker put up very solid statistics for the Wildcats. In four full seasons, Parker collected 145 tackles, 6 interceptions, 17 passes defended and 1 touchdown. Those numbers were solid, but may not have caught much attention around the league in the pre-draft process, perhaps leading him to be overlooked over the weekend.

When watching the tape, Parker shows some good instincts and the skills to perhaps be an intriguing player for the team.

Everyone else’s loss could end up being Detroit’s gain in the end, and given how he has trended, that already looks to be the case for Parker.

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