Parks set to try NFL

By By Patrick McHugh, News Staff

Even though his name was not called during the NFL Draft, Cord Parks’ professional football career is not over. In fact, it is just beginning.
‘ The former Northeastern defensive back who played from 2005-08 in a Husky uniform signed a free agent contract with the St. Louis Rams April 28 and participated in practices with the team. Although Parks was not considered a prospect for the draft, his former coach is not surprised he got an invite to join a team.
‘ ‘All through the fall scouts came to see him play and work out,’ head coach Rocky Hager said. ‘With his god-given talents it was inevitable he would get a shot at the next level. Considering the style of defense the Rams employ I think it’s a good fit for him.’
‘ Parks’ four-year tenure as a Husky included two seasons as a starting cornerback. In 45 games he recorded 171 tackles, four interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. Parks’ contributions were not limited to just the defensive side of the ball. As a kick returner, he ranks fifth in career return yards in school history with 941.
‘ Parks said he was contacted after the draft by St. Louis and by the next night he had a contract. He said he thinks his character was something NFL scouts liked about him.
‘ ‘I put in a lot of hard work to playing football and majoring in [mechanical] engineering at the same time,’ Parks said. ‘I think teams saw I have good time management skills and can handle the demands of playing in the NFL. Everything at this level is business-oriented and I feel like I’m prepared to handle that.’
‘ After the draft last Sunday, Parks traveled to St. Louis for a physical and a meeting with the team. This past weekend he had his first rookie mini-camp practices, which he described as very intense.
‘ ‘Every drill you do, every play you have to work hard and finish strong,’ said Parks. ‘Everything is fast-paced at a high rate of speed.’
‘ Parks is no stranger to going at a fast pace. In addition to four years on the gridiron, Parks also spent three years on the track team as a sprinter and hurdler, winning five career events.
‘ Hager said Parks’ extraordinary speed is what made him a top choice for NFL scouts.
‘ ‘Because of his speed he has the ability to play as a cover corner or play in some nickel and dime packages,’ Hager said. ‘All rookies are expected to contribute on special teams and he may get a look at gunner or jammer on punt coverage. And of course he spent time here as a returner, so his versatility means he can play in a variety of places.’
‘ Parks returns to St. Louis for organized team activities (OTAs), which are unofficial practices that each NFL team runs. OTAs run through June until preseason practices commence in July. Hager said these practices will be very important for Parks to develop as a player and show the coaches what he can do.
‘ In the meantime Parks is staying in football shape by working out with other players and studying the team playbook. He recognizes the importance of work that to be put in to make a football career successful.
‘ ‘It takes a lot to make an NFL roster and as a rookie there’s added pressure,’ Parks said. ‘Everything from here on out is basically a job interview.’

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