NFL Draft: Where there’s a Will there’s a way


The 2016 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and after a successful Pro Day, former Arizona Wildcats safety Will Parks’ draft chances are rapidly growing. 

Will Parks works hard at his craft. After training in Newport Beach, California, Parks attended Arizona’s Pro Day and let’s just say it went very well. Seven NFL Teams invited Parks to visit their facilities, so he’s been flying all over the country, from Cleveland to Seattle to Denver and more. ZonaZealots just had to find out how the visits, and how they went and in true Will Parks form, he was happy to let us in on all the happenings.

We wondered how coach Rich Rod gets involved in team draft analysis and we found out he is very involved. NFL teams have called Rodriguez asking about Parks, “The first thing the NFL teams tell me is ‘Your coach really loves you, man’ and I say ‘I love him more.'” Aww, that’s really nice to here.

Don’t think Parks takes any of this attention for granted, “I want to be the best in my position, and I want to be legendary with my sport. Growing up this is all that I’ve wanted to do in my life,” said Parks, “You wait 21 years to play ten years, I just thank the man above for putting me in this position. You just gotta go forward from there.”

Arizona’s unfortunate season proved beneficial for Parks, who was able to learn different positions.”They [NFL Team] have looked at me for different positions, safety, nickel, cornerback. I’m so versatile they can use me anywhere.”

As Will explains in this post-Pro Day interview, his performance garnered the attention he wanted and is ecstatic, although it wasn’t easy getting used to the heat in Tucson all over again.

As far as what team did he enjoy the most during his visits, “I just kind of enjoyed all seven of them, it was a different experience because of the cities other than that it was just enjoyable,” he explained, “I got a chance to meet football icons — got to meet people in general who help shape the face of the sport — not just the football staff, you know the custodian workers too. Just to get a feel for the whole facility.”

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Which icons did he meet pray tell? “I met GM John Elway when I went to Denver, I met coach Hue Jackson when I went to Cleveland, you know Ray Horton [Dallas] and all those guys, Pete Carrol, Richard Sherman [Seattle], man it was crazy!” What was it like meeting John Elway? “He’s a real cool guy, just sitting there and talking to him, you wouldn’t think he’s John Elway, he’s so different,” said Parks, “It’s crazy how many coaches and players I met on this trip, I didn’t think I would be in this position, I’m super fortunate.”

We wondered what Sherman was like, “He’s a cool dude, he’s really humble, you couldn’t tell he where he’s from, you know he graduated from Stanford, and I can’t tell you enough about him. Everyone thinks he’s really cocky, but he’s really not.”

When you think of Richard Sherman, you kind of think of Will Parks, right? I mean they are both talented, skilled and extremely charismatic. “I am going to give you something to laugh about [in interviews].”

As far as where he thinks he’s going in the draft, he’s hearing 7th round but hopes to go earlier, “I listened to all types of stuff, second through five, seven, six, I mean it’s all over the place right now,” Parks said, “At least I am talked about being drafted now, at one point I wasn’t even talked about. Where ever I go, I’ll be fortunate to be on a team, and once the opportunity presents itself, you can’t look back.”

Parks been hanging out in Tucson, “I’m in Tucson visiting with the players, talking to coach Rod when I’m in the gym, you know we’ve been chatting.”

The dead period was last Wednesday, so now the teams are preparing, and Will’s going back home on Wednesday to be with his family and have a party, “To celebrate my life and all that’s going on lately.” He misses his family, and will be with them during the draft. What this attention means for the Arizona Football program is important to Parks, “It’s [the NFL Draft] going to be game-changing this year.”

We were fortunate enough to talk to Parks fellow 2016 NFL draftee Jeff Worthy to get his thoughts on Will; there is nothing like hearing from your teammate who knows you the best.

“Will has a motor like no one I have seen! And to top it all off, he is a great person and a great teammate,” said Worthy, “He brings energy to a locker room and is quite frankly one of the hardest hitting safeties I have seen in my football career.  Any team that picks him is picking up a winner and guy that is great on and off the field.”

We also heard from Arizona Alum and Wildcats Football Radio Color Commentator Lamont Lovett, who has watched and commented on Parks during broadcasts throughout his college career. We caught up with Lovett and got his insight into Parks:

“Will Parks was one of my favorite players to watch during the Rodriguez era. He has managed to be a one of the most consistent playmakers on the Arizona defense. With 72 tackles,6.5 tackles for loss and 2 forced fumbles in 2015, Parks showed his toughness. He has a nose for the ball and when is around the ball good things happen.

A play that comes to mind was in the Advocare V100 Bowl, where Parks broke on an out route, picked it off and raced 69 yards for a TD. The other aspect about Parks that every coach loves is the fact that he is a workout warrior. He keeps his body in tip-top shape, and he constantly works on his craft. Whoever takes a flyer on Parks, will get a heady player that refuses to be out-worked.

He plays bigger than he is (and he is not small), but is very physical and is comfortable playing in the box. Parks was also a strong leader for Arizona. Whoever gets Parks will get a steal, in my opinion. I look forward to seeing this young Wildcat BEARDOWN at the next level.”

Lovett is absolutely correct, Parks is in tip-top shape, just check out a shirtless Will in this Arizona Pro Day video that turned a lot of heads and got the appropriate attention. It’s honestly hard not to be impressed in how great a shape this man is in (Will’s 40-yard is captured at the 1:10 mark).

Next: NFL Draft: Former Wildcats proving he’s Worthy of the Draft

“I’m grateful at the same time; I’m still working hard.” Wildcats fans are behind you Will 150%, “I’m behind them too!” Interviewing Parks is one of the most entertaining and heartwarming experiences we’ve ever had. He will make an NFL team feel lucky to have him on the roster, and their locker room will never be the same! BearDown Philly Will! You will always be our Wildcat!