The Las Vegas Raiders are counting on an improving offensive line to protect their starting quarterback in 2023. Interior offensive lineman Dylan Parham is a sophomore blocker that should take another step forward and appears primed to experience a breakout season.
The No. 90 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, Parham was thrown into Las Vegas’ starting lineup as a first-year blocker that spent the majority of his reps at left guard. Parham actually led all Raiders offensive linemen in 2022 with a team-high 1,037 offensive snaps. Parham was rarely allowed an opportunity to settle at one position, however.
While he played the majority of his snaps at left guard (789), needs that popped up elsewhere forced Parham to spend additional time at center (137) and right guard (110), per Pro Football Focus. Parham handled position chances with grace considering his inexperience.
It did lead to some typical rookie struggles, however. Parham was credited with allowing 6.0 sacks, 55 pressures, and nine additional quarterback hits, according to PFF. Parham was also whistled for five penalties. Parham’s play earned him a pass-blocking grade of 48.8, a run-blocking grade of 66.9, and an overall grade of 61.9.
Settling into one position would help Parham reach his potential. According to the Raiders’ current depth chart, Parham is expected to man the left guard spot, with Andre James starting at center and Alex Bars at right guard. Allowing Parham to focus on his main task would lead to the desired improvement. Consistency as a pass protector is necessary.
There were flashes of improvement in protection toward the conclusion of Las Vegas’ season. Parham posted a season-high pass-blocking grade of 83.5 against the New England Patriots in Week 15. But he was unfortunately credited with allowing 3.0 sacks against the Pittsburgh Steelers the following week. Building on his standout performances is a critical area of focus for Parham in year two.
Parham posted an elite run-blocking grade of 92.3 against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17. Parham was a big reason why Raiders running back Josh Jacobs led the league in rushing with 1,653 yards and Jacobs will likely be thrilled to play behind an improved Parham in 2023.
Outside of Jacobs’ greatness, Las Vegas’ offense wasn’t an ideal unit for Parham’s baptism by fire. Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr failed to acclimate to head coach Josh McDaniels’ complicated offense. Constant shuffling up front didn’t help solve the Raiders’ issues. Continuation should have the Raiders better prepared to execute McDaniels’ system. Jimmy Garoppolo is viewed as a better fit for the scheme.
Parham was always going to require a bit of seasoning at the NFL level. A former linebacker and tight end in high school, Parham enrolled at Memphis as a tight end before switching to the offensive line, where he developed into a four-year starter. Similar to his first-year experience in Las Vegas, Parham constantly shuffled spots as a Tiger, playing left guard, right tackle, and right guard.
Parham enjoyed a quality rookie season given the unforeseen difficulties he was presented with. A broken offense and lineup changes didn’t assist Parham, who largely played good football despite his lackluster surroundings. Parham is now positioned to establish himself as one of the better young interior offensive linemen in 2023.
- Sep 29, 2023
- Sep 29, 2023