Parsons will wait it out in NFL draft

Former Jesuit High quarterback thinks he has what it takes

The writing on the wall says Preston Parsons might have to live and work in Europe before he gets his chance to make an NFL roster. What a bummer.

But Parsons, a former Jesuit High quarterback, refuses to read the writing.

'Honestly, I don't think it'll come down to that,' he says of playing in the developmental NFL Europe league. 'I feel confident that once I get my name out there and people see what I can do, I'll be with somebody (in the NFL) for sure.'

Last year, Parsons threw for 2,605 yards and 22 touchdowns, with only four interceptions, at Northern Arizona.

Parsons then signed with agent David Dunn, who also represents former Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington. Parsons has spent much of the past two months working out in Orlando, Fla., and getting ready for the NFL draft with Dunn's other prospects, including Harrington and UCLA's DeShaun Foster.

'I feel I'm physically as good as them,' the 6-4, 230-pound Parsons says. 'It's just a case of coming from a smaller school with less recognition. A little more adversity.'

Parsons will work out for NFL teams in Flagstaff, Ariz., on March 28. He doesn't have high expectations for the April 20-21 draft.

'I'll be a second-day guy,' he says, meaning that he probably will go in the fifth, sixth or seventh round. Or, he won't be drafted but will get a free-agent opportunity.

'He's right on the edge,' Dunn says. 'My job with Preston is to create a passion in some team for him.'

Former NAU quarterbacks coach Steve Axeman recruited Parsons, who considered going to Oregon State, Boise State, Idaho or Montana before signing with the Lumberjacks.

'He's sent a ton of quarterbacks to the NFL, including Troy Aikman when he coached at UCLA,' Parsons says. 'It was my best opportunity.''

Parsons completed 56.4 percent of his passes last season, throwing 158 consecutive passes without an interception in one stretch. The 23-year-old has been living lately in Newport Beach, Calif., where Dunn works and his brother lives. Tyson Parsons, a Beaverton High grad who played quarterback at Portland State, owns a vintage hardwood flooring company.

Parsons and Harrington have several things in common. They are about the same height and weight. They came from Catholic high schools. Both are 6-4 and about the same weight. And they have Dunn as their agent.

Dunn also represents each of the two quarterbacks who came before them: Carolina's Jeff Lewis and Buffalo's Travis Brown played at NAU before Parsons; Philadelphia's A.J. Feeley and Cincinnati's Akili Smith played at UO before Harrington.

'But, it's an obviously different situation,' Parsons says. 'Joey doesn't need to be shopped. Everybody's coming to him. A few years down the road, things will even out.'

NOTES: ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. says Oregon State linebacker James Allen improved his stock at the recent NFL combine tryouts in Indianapolis. Kiper lauded Allen for his athleticism and physical skills. Allen ran the 40-yard dash between 4.53 and 4.62 seconds. According to Kiper, Allen should go in the second, third or fourth round. Allen prepped at Jefferson.

Oregon running back Maurice Morris and Portland State receiver Terry Charles also improved their stock. Duck cornerback Rashad Bauman ran some fast 40 times, but his size (5-8) probably will turn scouts away. Same thing with OSU running back Ken Simonton.

Another name out there: Justin Peelle. The UO tight end will get drafted and, given Oregon's track record of producing quality tight ends, might make a roster.

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