Name: Will Parks
Height: 6’1" Weight: 194 lbs
Age: 22 Experience: 2nd
Drafting Will Parks was part of an effort last year to get younger in the secondary, and help replenish some depth at safety after struggling in this area in 2015 and having it nearly cost the Broncos their Super Bowl run.
Fortunately for Denver, Will Parks has been exactly what the doctor (or coaches) ordered, contributing 23% of defensive snaps and 75% of special teams snaps. The most memorable of those special teams snaps is of course the amazing two-point blocked extra point conversion that pushed Denver to victory over the Saints.
In addition to his significant special teams contributions, Parks chipped in 22 tackles, 1 interception, 3 passes defensed, and 1 fumble recovery at strong safety.
Parks put in some good minutes last year in reserve of TJ Ward. He has the size you want out of a safety, and shows good aggression and instincts against the run. He played some nickel back in college as well, and can be moved around in the box, giving the defense some flexibility.
“Will Parks I think has a lot of versatility. I like him because he’s tough as nails, he’s coachable,” the former All-Pro-player-turned-coach said. “I think he’s going to be very similar to me. I see him, for lack of better words, a poor-man’s T.J. Ward right now. Only time will tell, but I think they have a very positive upside right now, both of those guys.”
So far this off season, Parks has been mentioned for all the wrong reasons. First there was the snap chat debacle where he leaked practice footage that is supposed to be kept confidential, and then it turned out the plays he leaked happened to highlight Paxton Lynch missing some passes, which set the internet ablaze.
In addition, he has had some legal issues pop up that will need to be vetted out and worked through.
Between Simmons and Parks, Parks has always seemed to me to be the less mature of the duo based on interviews and things I have seen. To me that is one of his biggest opportunities for growth this off season if he wants to be successful in the NFL.
On the field, Parks often struggled in 1 on 1 coverage last year, and will need to improve his coverage ability overall. He is currently better suited for playing closer to the line of scrimmage and in zone, but will need to learn to man up receivers in order to take a larger role.
“They’re a critical part of our defense. Last year between [S] Justin [Simmons] and [S] Will [Parks], they played some substantial time for us. Everybody knows from the first year to the second year that you expect a big jump. I think those guys did a great job last year in the role we had them play, but we expect them to step in and be able to do even more for us.”
- Defensive Coordinator, Joe Woods
If all the off the field stuff turns out fine, I think Parks has a roster spot this year. He’s a valuable special teams contributor and a solid reserve safety who has potential to grow in his second year in the league and in the scheme. He’s one of my young players that I want to see more out of this coming year.