Parker has finished second on the Chiefs in tackles for two straight seasons and has progressed in his sack and interception totals. He rose to prominence in the wake of a disastrous effort by Kendrick Lewis in the Chiefs’ epic collapse against the Colts in 2013. While not perfect, Parker has bolstered the middle of the field and can take on his share of one-on-one coverages as well.
Parker finished just ahead of Marcus Peters in PFF’s rankings at 74.1 with his best overall game coming against Oakland in the last game of the season where he received a plus 3 in coverage. Parker has improved in each season he has played since joining the Chiefs and may do so much to earn some recognition in 2016.
Behind him, the Chiefs have experience in Stevie Brown and Jamell Fleming but neither will replace the excellent play of Husain Abdullah. Brown hasn’t played a game since 2014 and hasn’t had a major impact since 2012. Fleming plays better off the line but still has issues with trying to guess where receivers are going instead of reacting.
The Chiefs will try several combinations of guys in the defensive backfield but Parker will need to be healthy to give the team any semblance of continuity. If Parker sustains a serious injury then the defense will be extremely vulnerable over the middle and in deep halves on cover two. Think what Andrew Luck did to the Chiefs in 2013 but with potentially every quarterback the Chiefs play.
Next: Eric Fisher