Heading into a contract year, new coaching staff to utilize his talents, and his much improved play in 2018 have me extremely optimistic about Will Park’s stock this season.
I have been pretty hard on Parks in the past, as he struggled mightily in 2017 on tape. However, that makes his turnaround in 2018 that much more impressive, and I have changed my tune.
At the end of the 2017 season, I broke down all the touchdowns Denver gave up to tight ends and running backs, as they led the league in the category. After doing my best to assign blame, I tallied up who was responsible, and Parks led the Broncos platers with four touchdowns allowed that year.
Upon review of this year’s touchdowns given up, in over 300+ snaps in coverage, Parks allowed zero touchdowns in the passing game.
When facing tight ends and wide receivers last year, #Broncos safety Will Parks allowed just 13 receptions from 22 targets!— PFF DEN Broncos (@PFF_Broncos) June 4, 2019
His 81.8 passer rating allowed on these targets ranked 10th among qualifying safeties! #BroncosCountry
Parks was quietly one of the most improved Broncos last year, and with the addition of Vic Fangio, his trajectory is still trending up.
We have talked about how versatility is a key piece of the new defensive scheme, and Parks brings that to the table. He has the ability to play all over the back end, and often lined up as a dimebacker or even in the slot last year.
His run support and tackling was one of his strong suits last year as he was relentless in pursuit and even at his size was not afraid to stick his nose in there and stuff runs between the tackles.
Interesting design by Pittsburgh leads to a solid play by Will Parks on 2nd and 7 here. pic.twitter.com/W1LS0uxnzT— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) May 31, 2019
We have already talked about Parks’ improvement in coverage, and the film backs up his numbers. He averaged only 11 yards given up per game, and 16 total receptions in direct coverage all year. More importantly, only two of his receptions allowed went for over 20 yards.
Chris Harris Jr. allowed the lowest passer rating on throws into his coverage out of ALL defenders in the AFC West. pic.twitter.com/BKzlxrD15M— PFF (@PFF) April 2, 2019
In addition to his on-field work, Parks has been a great teammate and pro off of it, and his contributions to his community back in Philly, and also the Denver area is both inspiring and makes me proud to call him a Denver Bronco.
“I’m just trying to have the kids smile, it’s a good day... I always told myself if I had the opportunity I would give back and help the city out. I’d do it any way possible.” - @PhillyWill11#BeAChampion— Broncos Off Field (@BroncosOffField) July 7, 2019
via @CBSPhilly: https://t.co/SwSsuZgkFy
I think Parks has been at his best playing closer to the line of scrimmage, but in this defense, he’ll likely be asked to play from deeper alignments. While he is capable in this area, I would say his angles, route recognition, and eye discipline from up high or centerfield is his biggest growth opportunity for this upcoming season.
“Will’s having a good offseason for us. I feel good about Will. I think he can play either safety position. We’re teaching him that way. I think he’s doing well.”
- Vic Fangio
“Growing up and playing the game, you look forward to having the opportunity to go out there and be a complete time starter for a team like this,” Parks said in a recent interview. “I’m versatile. I’ll do anything. I’m all for me working and putting myself in the best position so that the team can win games.”
Will Parks highlights
Will Parks’ roster status with the Broncos
I think you can pencil in Parks as a starting safety for this upcoming year. He may see some time in rotation with Kareem Jackson, but I have a feeling Fangio is going to do everything he can to keep all five of Parks, Simmons, Jackson, Harris, and Callahan on the field as much as possible, regardless of where they eventually line up.