Even though he has yet to take a single snap there, Dylan Parham is considered one of the top center prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft. A four-year starter at three different positions for Memphis, Parham projects as a center because of his combination of athleticism and movement skills along with a lack of size. There will be a learning curve for him to adapt to the new position, but the right situation could unlock something special, which is why Parham will probably be taken at some point on Day 2 of the draft.
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Parham arrived at Memphis as a tight end prospect before moving to the offensive line prior to his redshirt freshman season, and he made the transition virtually seamlessly, becoming a four-year starter for the Tigers while lining up at three different spots (two seasons at left guard and a season apiece at right tackle and right guard). He brings excellent athleticism to the interior line, sacrificing little in the way of movement skills as he bulked up. His lateral agility is outstanding, and he has the ability to square up pass rushers, then get low and win the rep, anchoring much better than you’d expect for his size. His athleticism shows up when he moves out into space as a run blocker; he’s adept at getting in front on outside-zone runs, and he has the coordination and the foot speed to pull effectively. He’ll get out in front in the screen game. He also holds up more than well enough battling in a phone booth, with a natural knee bend and powerful leg drive that can generate movement at the point of attack.
Parham did not take any snaps at center, but his lack of girth makes it his most natural spot on an NFL field. His frame is maxed out, and he’s simply going to get engulfed inside at times. He’s come a long way in four years, but he wasn’t always as sharp as you’d like to see as a processor, something that’s especially important at the pivot.
He’s an exciting prospect with the kind of movement skills that create a lot of options for an offense. He might need to be paired with a veteran quarterback early in his career to help him out with checks, but a good position coach could unlock a Pro Bowl-caliber starter.