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Broncos roster 2016: Safety Will Parks

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Breaking down the Denver Broncos 2016 90-man roster, one player, one post, one day at a time. Today we keep the football rolling looking at rookie safety Will Parks.

Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports

A day-by-day Broncos player breakdown is something we've been doing since our days at BroncoTalk nearly a decade ago. This year the tradition continues as we look at the Denver Broncos roster heading into the 2016 season in our 90-in-90 series.

Name: Will Parks
Position: Safety
Height: 6'1" Weight: 194
Age: 21  Experience: R
College: Arizona

Safety Will Parks enjoyed a productive four-year college career at Arizona. During his four-year career at Arizona, he totaled 197 tackles, 21 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 4 interceptions, 20 pass deflections and 2 forced fumbles. His best statistical season came in 2014 when he totaled 81 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, and 8 pass deflections.

After his productive career at Arizona, Parks entered the 2016 NFL Draft and was considered a day three selection by most draft experts. In the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Parks received a call from Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway and Head Coach Gary Kubiak to let him know that he would be joining the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos.

Now Parks will compete for a roster spot at the safety position that lacks some depth. The Broncos did spend a third round pick on Justin Simmons, so he figures to be the third safety in 2016. Parks is more of a box safety, so if he does his job this summer he could be T.J. Ward's backup in 2016.

The good:

There is a lot to like about Parks. First off, he fills a big need for the Broncos. Heading into the draft, the Broncos depth at the safety position wasn't very good. After the draft concluded it was obvious that John Elway viewed safety depth as one of his priorities during the draft. He selected Justin Simmons in the third round, and Will Parks in the 6th round. Both players have a good shot at making the roster because of the lack of depth.

As I said prior, I expect Parks to be T.J. Ward's main backup in 2016. Both have similar skill sets and are best used closer to the line of scrimmage. They both have the ability to cover, but they will make their living stuffing the run and daring receivers, running backs, and tight ends to come across the middle.

Another thing to like about Parks is his versatility. He can play in the slot, deep safety, box safety and probably some linebacker in certain sub-packages for the Broncos. This gives Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips another versatile chess piece to use.

This selection by the Denver Broncos caught the attention of Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus. He called the Broncos selection of Parks as one of the best 16 picks from the 2016 NFL Draft.

Another versatile piece to add to a loaded Broncos secondary. Parks was our highest-graded cornerback in college football in 2014 after he dominated in a slot role for Arizona. Last season he lined up all over the Wildcats defense while adding more snaps at deep safety and graded out similarly well. He doesn’t check the athletic boxes, but for a sixth-round pick, the Broncos got a heck of a football player.

Parks is one heck of a football player. Like Renner said, he may not have the physical tools that stick out to you, but he is just one very good football player.

What helps Parks become a very good football player despite not having the elite physical tools some look for is his intelligence. His awareness on the field is evident when watching tape on him. He doesn't bite on play-action fakes, he knows what the offense is going to do, and he just reads and reacts quickly.

So Parks is a big hitter, versatile, intelligent, and can do just about everything on the field? The Broncos may have found themselves a steal in the sixth round.

The bad:

I do not have a whole lot of bad on Parks, but the main thing here will be his athleticism. He probably doesn't have the speed to play deep center, or the speed and quickness to line up against your quicker/faster slot corners.

As I said above, he can do it all but he is probably best suited for a strong safety role in the NFL.

My only other concern is his weight. He is listed at 194 pounds and that might be a tad on the light side for a box type safety. Bulking up to about 200-205 might be best for him.

Other than that I think the Broncos have a rock solid rookie in Parks.


Parks on fellow rookie safety Justin Simmons and the Broncos secondary

"I’m aware they drafted a safety. Justin Simmons is a good player and we’re going to push each other to work every day and we’re going to learn from guys like T.J Ward, Chris Harris andAqib Talib. Playing with all these dudes, it’s a dream come true. These guys are all great players and I’m excited to meet them and get to know what kind of style they play with."

Roster Status:

I really like Parks chances of making the team. Ward and Stewart are your starters but after that. it is all up for grabs. Simmons and Parks are two different type of safeties so I expect Simmons to be the backup free safety and Parks to be the backup strong safety.

There is some veteran depth that both will have to compete with, but I expect Parks to make it if shows enough during camp and the preseason.

How he performs on special teams will be key for Parks.