It came as a bit of a surprise when the new Las Vegas Raiders re-treated free agent Brandon Parker for a one-year deal this off-season.
The new leadership in Las Vegas didn’t focus much on the Raiders’ 2022 free agent class and Parker didn’t distinguish himself much after the Raiders were traded to take him with the first-round third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
However, as we enter week three of the team’s training camp, Parker is well positioned to start the right intervention this season. He’s looked solid in camp and is fighting with Alex Leatherwood’s 2021 first-round pick in the primary mission. Unless Leatherwood is moved to a sentry position (time is running out before the season starts), this fight can continue into early September. There were some indications in training camp that the first gig was going to lose Parker.
“I literally compete with every rep I get,” Parker said recently. “[The coaching staff] She told us it was a downright competition. we got [Alex] Leatherwood, me, Jermaine [Eluemunor]Jackson [Barton]. We have a lot of good people who can do that too. When they put me there, they put me there, but now, I do what I can.”
Parker realizes that he did not live up to expectations after the Raiders moved aggressively to step in. He has started 32 out of 54 matches. He played 13 games last season and had moments of strong and weak play.
“It was just a gradual progression over the years. You know, he kind of took a lot of blocks in a junior year,” he said. “My second year, I didn’t play much. I played when needed. Year three, kind of the same thing. Just kind of learning behind the guys that were in front of me. And then when it was my turn, using what they taught me and trying to be the best I can do for my team.”
“For example, a lot of penalties. Way a lot of false starts last year. I hurt my team that way. And with the new hires coming in, we all have our own false starts, which helps to sort of correct. A lot of collectibles, a lot of sacks. And a lot. Of those things just ending, and that’s what I was trying to focus on. I just finished focusing better.”
Despite his shaky past, Parker is enjoying his chance with the new system and will work hard trying to be a captain in his fifth year and try to play as much as he earns.
“I try to keep us going when we have dog days at camp,” Parker said. “We get over 100 hot, we all feel like that. So, I kind of try to keep us all positive. Lots of guys look up to me. Someone has to be the guy, so I try to be that even when I’m not having my best day. Even Whenever I can take an ‘L’ here or there, I always try to go through from behind to show not to let this play affect the next. Just trying to be the leader we need in our room.”