Dylan Parham was the first draft pick of Dave Ziegler, the new general manager of the Las Vegas Raiders. Most people remember the team trading its first and second-round draft picks for Davante Adams. Chosen in the third round, Parham has an opportunity to contribute right away, thanks in part to his versatility. This week, with the New England Patriots in town for joint practices, Parham had to face Christian Barmore, something that will benefit him moving forward.
These joint practices offer players (rookies especially) a chance to face off with starting-caliber players ahead of the regular season. Barmore was the Patriots’ second-round draft pick back in April. As a member of Alabama’s defensive line, Barmore was one of the highest-graded defensive tackles in this year’s class. Possessing both size and power with versatility playing along the line, Barmore was a good test for Parham this week in one-on-one drills. While speaking to the media recently, head coach Josh McDaniels spoke about Parham’s progress so far this week ahead of the preseason finale tomorrow. In particular, McDaniels was asked if Parham has been “settling in.”
“‘Settle in’ is a grand phrase right now for a rookie. He’s learning every day; I think that’s the best thing to say. That’s the first time he’s seen Christian Barmore in a one-on-one pass rush drill and those kinds of things. There are great gains to be made, whether it’s a hard lesson to learn or not. And I think a lot of our young players are in the same boat.”
Will Dylan Parham be a Day 1 starter for the Las Vegas Raiders?
The situation with the Raiders’ O-line is very much in flux. Kolton Miller is really the only guaranteed starter. McDaniels has been trying different combinations, giving players different looks throughout camp and preseason, Parham included. Many do feel Parham will be a starter out of the gate, though he’s far from a polished lineman. In fact, beat writers have noted that he’s struggled mightily when facing bigger linemen, getting overpowered.
Be that as it may, McDaniels maintains that Parham is doing his best while playing several positions.
“I think they’re all working really hard to try to be able to play for us as early as possible. But Dylan [Parham], same thing – he played all three positions and that’s not easy. When you’re doing that as a young guy, and then you’re having to communicate at center and guard. He’s working really hard. I think a lot of our young guys are doing that. These practices, as I said, you can’t measure the value here because we can’t produce this on our own.”
This is asking a lot from a rookie, to play both guard spots and center, though facing players such as Barmore this week likely helped Parham in more ways than one. Whether he’s progressed enough to warrant a starting role will soon be determined.
*Top Photo: The Athletic