Miami Dolphins

Dolphins select Louisville WR DeVante Parker in NFL Draft

Louisville wide receiver Devante Parker poses for photos with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Miami Dolphins as the 14th pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Chicago.
Louisville wide receiver Devante Parker poses for photos with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Miami Dolphins as the 14th pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Chicago. AP

The Browns were on the clock, and Stephen Ross was worried.

DeVante Parker was the Dolphins' top target with the 14th pick of Thursday's NFL Draft, but Ross — the Dolphins owner — thought the Browns, picking 12th, would steal him away.

Instead, Cleveland selected Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton — and Ross let out a celebratory yelp.

And when the Saints, as expected, took Stanford tackle Andrus Peat, the Dolphins had their guy.

DeVante Parker, welcome to Miami. You have a fan in the highest of places.

After being linked to him for weeks, the Dolphins took Parker with their first-round pick, completing a wide receiver overhaul that gives the team a fearsome foursome at the position.

Parker, a 6-3, 209-pound wideout who played collegiately at Louisville, joins Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry and Greg Jennings in a loaded receiver room. They replace Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson — all of whom have been traded or cut in the last two months.

"You can throw the ball to any one of us, and we can do something with it," said Parker, who added that yards-after-catch was his strongest attribute.

Parker was the third receiver off the board, following Amari Cooper (Raiders) and Kevin White (Bears).

"It's one I had targeted all along," Ross said. "To get one of the big three receivers that really was a step above the best was great."

General Manager Dennis Hickey addresses the media after the Miami Dolphins selected Louisville WR DeVante Parker at No. 14 in the NFL Draft on April 30, 2015. (Video by Carl Juste / Miami Herald Staff)

Parker gives the Dolphins the red-zone threat they've lacked on the outside. He instantly becomes easily the tallest wide receiver on the team.

A four-year player at Louisville, Parker caught 43 passes for 855 yards and five touchdowns as a senior — in just six games. He missed the first seven with a foot injury, but Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey insisted that Parker is "healthy" and "ready to go."

"He's got size, athleticism, length, excellent body control," Hickey said. "He brings a lot of things you want in an outside receiver."

And when the Dolphins realized Parker was available when the Dolphins went on the clock?

"There were a lot of high-fives," Hickey said, who added that Parker was the best player available at 14.

Before the celebration, there were plenty of anxious moments — and a few disappointed ones.

The Todd Gurley dream only lasted about an hour. Gurley, whom the Dolphins coveted, lasted until the 10th pick, but didn't make it past the Rams.

A pick later, the first — and probably best — corner was off the board, too. The Vikings selected Michigan State corner Trae Waynes. The Dolphins had worried either Minnesota or Cleveland would spoil the plans.

Neither did.

Parker, meanwhile, got the news in Chicago, where he learned his fate in the green room with his family by his side.

The Dolphins love both his ability and his character — which Ross is "very important." Left unsaid: The Dolphins selected a drama-free player just two days after their top pick from 2013, Dion Jordan, was suspended for the season after violating the NFL's substance abuse policy for a third time.

"Let's put it this way: It was a great pick for us," Ross said. "It's exciting, because you know what you want."

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