Detroit Lions rookie cornerback A.J. Parker has been a revelation in the past couple weeks. Initially an afterthought in the Lions depth chart, Parker moved inside to the nickel spot and has quickly warranted reps with the first-team defense. It’s one thing to do that in practice, it’s another to do it in a game. On Saturday, Parker got his chance to go against the first-team Pittsburgh Steelers offense, and needless to say, it went well.
Parker earned a place on PFF’s top-10 rookie performances of the week list. He came in sixth on the list, behind only players who were taken in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. Parker, of course, went undrafted.
“On seven targets, Parker allowed five catches for 16 yards and added a pass breakup,” PFF’s Michael Renner said. “He finished the day with three coverage stops as well as two run stops for a 90.8 overall grade. The rookie didn’t play slot until his final year at Kansas State and already looks extremely confident.”
Parker continues to rep with the Lions’ first-team defense and appears to have a real shot at starting the season there. But defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn tried to preach caution earlier this week.
“I know everybody’s trying to give him the nickel job right now, but he’s still competing,” Glenn said. “But that’s okay, that’s okay. I hope he’s not reading the press clippings too much, but he’s doing a good job for us.”
Sorry, Coach Glenn. Here’s one more clipping he’ll have to avoid.
- Because he’s in the bright city of Los Angeles, ESPN did a cover story on Matthew Stafford, his road to the Rams, and the big expectations that await. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re still keeping tabs on the former Lions quarterback. There’s also a video component here.
- I’m sorry to announce that my reign as the Lions beat writer punting champion has come to an end. Congratulations to 97.1 The Ticket’s Will Burchfield for taking the crown (my punt went 45 yards):
- Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson made Peter Schrager’s list of top-10 breakout players for 2021.
- Ford Field turned 19 on Tuesday:
- Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic tracked every move Lions linebacker Derrick Barnes made during Wednesday’s training camp practice.
- Not Lions related, but this is a breath-taking sequence of the ridiculous Dallas Cowboys facility: