DeVante Parker Passes Up 2014 NFL Draft to Return to Louisville

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2014

Dec 5, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Louisville Cardinals wide receiver DeVante Parker (9) celebrates after catching a pass for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

It's not all bad, Louisville fans. Although Teddy Bridgewater is off to the NFL, at least DeVante Parker will be a Cardinals player for one more season.

The junior receiver announced on Twitter that he's staying in school and passing up the 2014 NFL draft.

Parker isn't projected to be a top pick like Bridgewater, but after his fantastic Russell Athletic Bowl performance, some wondered if he'd be following his teammate to the pros.

Riding such a wave of momentum, you couldn't have faulted Parker if he wanted to strike while the iron is hot. But he has decided that another year in college will be more beneficial, and it's hard to argue with the choice.   

In his most recent mock draft, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller had Parker off the board with the next-to-last pick in the second round. It's a solid grade, but one that could be improved with more seasoning.

Adam Himmelsbach of the Louisville Courier-Journal reported in December that Parker was firm in his intention to only enter the draft under the right circumstances. “If they’re not projecting him near the first round,” Parker's grandfather Willie said, “he’s definitely going to be back for his senior year.”

Of course, this isn't all about Parker's draft stock, as Louisville is getting back one of its best vertical weapons.

Himmelsbach is already looking ahead to the 2014 season. With redshirt freshman Will Gardner in line to take over for Bridgewater next year, Himmelsbach posited that Parker will be the perfect target for a young QB.

Eric Crawford of WDRB in Louisville speculated that the junior wideout coming back is a good indication that Charlie Strong will be back as well.

Between Parker's decision to stay and Strong possibly doing the same, 2014 looks like it will be another big year for the Cardinals. 

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