Teams across the league are letting players walk in what some would call an offseason ‘massacre.’ Mid-tier players and soon-to-be unrestricted free agents are being told to pack their stuff and go get paid elsewhere. The same happened in Los Angeles when the Chargers let their star tight end, Hunter Henry, hit free agency after they passed on placing the franchise tag on the player.
With no one else currently on the tight end depth chart for 2021, this means former XFL superstar Donald Parham will likely get an increased role in their Justin Herbert-led passing attack. Equipped with a 4.70 40-yard dash at 6-foot-8 and 257 lbs, Parham could become a household name at the tight end spot next year and a potential 2021 fantasy sleeper.
Under-recruited out of high school, Parham played at Stetson University. At Stetson, all Parham did was put up huge numbers. He shattered the school’s record book and left as the school’s all-time leader in catches (180), receiving yards (2,591), and receiving touchdowns (20).
Donald Parham Highlights vs. Valparaiso
Parham caught 12 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns against Valparaiso.
Giants will meet with Parham as part of their official 30 visits, per @TonyPauline. #GiantsPride #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/501IJf8nRZ
— WBG84 (@WBG84) April 6, 2019
From there, he was invited to the Senior Bowl to showcase his talents in front of NFL scouts.
“I was really surprised Donald didn’t get drafted a couple of years ago just because he has rare traits,” said Jim Nagy, Senior Bowl Executive Director. “When you’re a scout, you’re always looking for things that differentiate you from other players.”
Nagy added that Parham even boasts a 7-foot-1 wingspan and a 36-inch vertical jump, which makes his catch radius “rare” at his size and athleticism.
Even though he went undrafted, Parham landed with the XFL’s Dallas Renegades. In only five games, Parham dominated the group of NFL washouts and college standouts. He was tied for fourth with 24 receptions, second with 43 targets, third with 307 receiving yards, and second in touchdowns with four.
After the XFL folded, Parham signed on with the Chargers.
Henry praised Parham during camp and said “he has a lot of talent” and “can move really well, too, for how big he is.”
Utilizing his obscene catch radius, Parham scored three touchdowns (all inside the 10-yard line) during his first NFL season on only 10 receptions.
Under new head coach Brandon Staley and new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, Parham could develop into something if the tight end competition remains at a minimum.
During the final season that Lombardi called plays, Matthew Stafford targeted the tight end on nearly 25 percent of his passes. Eric Ebron finished with 47 receptions on 70 targets and registered 537 yards and five touchdowns. Moreover, during Lombardi’s on-and-off 12-year stint with the Saints, Drew Brees was no stranger to his tight end.
All-in-all, Lombardi is going to lean on Herbert to throw the ball, which should allow Parham to reap the benefits.
“We’re gonna build it around him,” Lombardi said of Herbert. “As we start this process, let’s look at what he was most comfortable with last year and his time at Oregon, what he has the most success with. Starting with those building blocks, ‘Here’s a series of plays that you already know, that you can find the completion, you know where to go with the football.’ Just give him that comfort level knowing that he’s starting with what he’s been successful at.”
With the ball stuck in Herbert’s hands, expect the Chargers’ offense to go to another level. Also, if the Chargers’ don’t spend too much at the position, expect Parham to reach his XFL level.
Even though The Wolf is a big fan of the XFL legend, he’s yet to crack our 2021 Fantasy Football Rankings & Big Board. But, expect that to change in the near future.