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Pre-Camp Reads: Looking at DB Ron Parker

Posted Jun 23, 2016

Over the next few weeks, we will be taking a closer look at players on the Chiefs roster

Perhaps no player on the Kansas City Chiefs roster has shown their value or versatility more over the past two seasons than veteran Ron Parker, who enters his sixth NFL season and fourth with the Chiefs in 2016. 

Before joining the Chiefs as a waiver-wire pickup by general manager John Dorsey before the 2013 season, Parker had been released eight different times by three different teams. He initially came into the league as an undrafted free agent out of Newberry College with the Seattle Seahawks in 2011.

Nothing has ever been handed to Parker, and his story is one that can resonate with everyone, regardless of the line of work.

On eight different occasions, Parker was told his dream was over—that he was no longer a professional football player.

Now, just three years after that eighth conversation, Parker sits as a key piece of a defense that has ranked in the top three in scoring over the past two seasons, allowing just 17.8 points per game.

He never lost sight of his goal or the belief that with hard work and determination, he could be in the position he now finds himself. All he needed was an opportunity, and the Chiefs gave him that. Over the past three seasons, both have reaped the rewards for their trust in one another.

Nobody has played more snaps for the Chiefs defense over the last two years than Parker, who has racked up 151 tackles, 4 interceptions, 24 passes defensed, 8 tackles for loss and 2 forced fumbles during that time.

Due to his versatility, value and leadership, Parker was rewarded with a multi-year contract extension by the Chiefs before last season—something that a few years earlier may have been nothing more than a dream, although lucid enough in Parker’s mind that it was always going to happen.

He just needed time.

“I always kept a strong head and just stuck with it and kept a strong mind and kept going,” Parker said at the time. “I never thought my day would be done.”

SEASON REVIEW

Parker, who has been called the “Swiss army knife” of the Chiefs defense, moved down from his safety position to the nickel cornerback spot after the season-ending injury to then-starter Phillip Gaines, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL suffered in the Week 3 matchup against the Green Bay Packers.

In a move that very few NFL defensive backs could make as seamlessly he did, Parker thrived in his new role.

Once again showing his versatility, Parker broke the franchise record for career sacks by a Chiefs defensive back while playing that nickel spot.

He finished second on the team with 78 total tackles, 5 sacks, 12 passes defensed, 3 interceptions and a forced fumble last season.

HOW HE FITS

Parker now finds himself as one of the veterans amongst a group of defensive backs that has recently seen a surge of young talent brought into its room.

Just this past spring, Dorsey and his staff selected three defensive backs out of the nine total selections they had in the draft, and it will be up to the veterans like Parker, Eric Berry and second-year player Marcus Peters to help lead and develop these young players.

2016 OUTLOOK

Parker has always said that he’s willing to play wherever his team needs him to play, and he’s proven that throughout his time with the Chiefs as he’s played both inside and outside at cornerback and stepped in the box at safety or played deep as well.

He’s a valuable piece to a loaded defense that will attempt to improve upon their impressive performance in 2015.

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