Dylan Parham never played center at Memphis. Which, if you haven’t studied Parham, makes the following tweet from draft analyst Dane Brugler of The Athletic seem startling:
Looking at my center draft rankings, the top-four all project as NFL starters. The next four can be valuable back-ups and have starting upside:— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) March 5, 2022
1. Tyler Linderbaum
2. Dylan Parham
3. Luke Fortner
4. Cole Strange
5. Dohnovan West
6. Cam Jurgens
7. Alec Linstrom
8. Dawson Deaton
The New York Giants are often connected to Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum in mock drafts. If the Giants pass or miss out on Linderbaum in the 2022 NFL Draft, Parham could be a player who becomes a target should they want a center. Or, simply a versatile player they could use at any of the interior offensive line spots.
Parhas has been steadily climbing up draft boards. The NFL Mock Draft Database currently has him ranked No. 80. The Giants have picks 67 and 81 in Round 3. NFL Draft Buzz considers him “an ideal pro center with his smaller size, high football IQ, and elite quickness.”
Parham started 28 games at left guard his first two seasons, 11 at right tackle as a redshirt junior, and 11 at right guard in 2021. He surrendered only two quarterbacks hits did not allow a sack in 2021 in 545 pass protection snaps.
“I feel I can play any part of the interior offensive line, whether it’s left, right or center,” Parham said before working out at the Combine. “I’ve been practicing different positions so if my name’s called I’ll be ready.”
Parham measured 6-foot-3, 311 pounds at the Combine. He knows his future could be at center. He spent the week of the Senior Bowl working there, an experience he called “big” as he works to impress NFL decision makers.
“I know a lot of teams would like to see me at the center position,” Parham said. “That was a big question mark. I wanted to go in and show I could be a leader on the offensive line, show I could be a person that could make the tag and then show them that I could be physical. Show them that I could consistently snap so they didn’t have to worry about that.”
Here is part of what Chris wrote in a recent Parham scouting report:
“Dylan Parham is an experienced offensive lineman, but he won’t be for every team. He projects best in pass-first schemes, to take advantage of his pass protection, and in running schemes built on zone blocking concepts.
“Parham likely won’t be for everyone, and teams that want to focus on a power running game will likely want to look elsewhere. That said, his pass protection should be a good asset to have in a “quarterback driven league”. Parham is mobile enough within his range to mirror athletic interior rushers, enough strength to blunt power rushes (when he plays with good leverage), has good awareness to pick up blitzes, and the technique to deal with stunts and twists.
“It isn’t fair to say that Parham is a poor athlete, but probably more accurate to say that he has poor range. He is a perfectly capable athlete for an interior lineman within his range, and flashes legitimately good quickness when dealing with pass rushers. However, he doesn’t have the speed to match that quickness and that can limit just how far he can move and still be effective.”
Parham is used to switching positions. He spent most of his high school career as a defensive end before moving to tight end during his senior season. Memphis converted him to the offensive line in spring drills before his redshirt freshman season.
“[Memphis] Coach [Ryan] Silverfield had a lot of belief in me. He even told my father that he felt I had an opportunity to get in [the NFL] when I first joined the offensive line,” Parham said. “I just trusted him, trusted the process. I was all-in to whatever he was teaching, whatever he was coaching. My junior year is when I really realized I had an opportunity.”
Parham doesn’t care what position he ultimately plays, though he says center “feels very natural” to him now.
“I’m just gonna find a way to get on that field, it doesn’t matter what position,” Parham said. “At the end of the day I’m gonna find some place to be, I’m gonna find that home, wherever that home is gonna be.”