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Julius Thomas agrees with Demaryius Thomas comparison to Miami Dolphins' DeVante Parker

By Alex Butler
Julius Thomas agrees with Demaryius Thomas comparison to Miami Dolphins' DeVante Parker
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Maurice Alexander (31) intercepts a ball near Miami Dolphins receiver Devante Parker (11) during the first half of their NFL game on November 20 at the LA Coliseum in Los Angeles, Calif. File photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

July 30 (UPI) -- Xavien Howard thinks DeVante Parker has the skills to be the best receiver in the NFL. He has also noticed a change in his Miami Dolphins teammate this offseason.

Parker is entering his third NFL season. After snagging 26 catches for 494 yards and three scores in his rookie season, he had 56 catches for 744 yards and four scores in 15 games last season.

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"I love competing against DeVante," Howard said Sunday. "I feel like he can be the best receiver in this league, and I want to go against the best every day."

Dolphins coaches have touted Parker's maturity this offseason, saying that he has more consistency in his route running. He is also eating right and showing up on time.

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Head coach Adam Gase previously compared Parker's first few NFL seasons to those of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.

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On Sunday, tight end Julius Thomas also compared Parker to Thomas. Thomas played for the Denver Broncos from 2011 through 2014. During that time, Gase served as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Demaryius was also on the team during that stretch.

"[Parker is] 6-foot-3, fast as [expletive], yeah I can see why you would liken those two," Thomas said. "But DeVante is having a good camp. He's an amazing athlete and we are going to depend on him big time to make big plays for us this season."

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While coaches have maintained the same mantra about how Parker has improved in a professional aspect, Howard pointed at something more specific.

"He's more consistent in his routes," Howard said. "His releases...That's my main goal, try to get my hands on receivers and his releases are quick. It's hard to get my hands on him and [it] messes the timing up. His releases are something I've got to watch film for and look at that."

Howard said he tries to line up against Parker every time he faces the No. 1 offensive unit. He added that the two are "trying to get each other better each day."

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Parker scored a beautiful 30-yard touchdown on the first day of training camp.

"I felt like I can go up and attack every ball that comes my way, and I don't think anyone can get it from me," he told reporters Saturday. "I just go up and high-point it. It's the way it goes."

With Julius Thomas, Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry, and an improved pass catcher in running back Jay Ajayi in the fold this year, targets will be competitive.

But Gase said Parker won't get rattled.

"The thing that does make him unique from a mental aspect of it is he never gets frustrated," Gase said. "Like if he goes a long time without a target or catching a ball, he doesn't get rattled by that. He just keeps lining up the next play and looking to win on that route."

"Sometimes it takes guys a few years to kind of realize it's not always going to happen exactly the way you think, because the defense can sometimes take you away or play some coverages where the ball is not going there. He does a really good job of just lining up the next play, learning from the previous one and going again."

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The Dolphins return to training camp on Monday before a break on Tuesday. If Parker stays healthy this season, he should see a bump in yardage and touchdowns.

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