While up late doing some draft analysis, I got to pondering about the very deep Tight End class of the 2019 draft and began to wonder just how deep it went. Last season, there were plenty of good options in Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert, and Mark Andrews among others. But arguably the most successful and productive ended up being underrated Miami Tight End Christopher Herndon. Drafted by the New York Jets, Herndon put up 502 receiving yard and 4 touchdowns. Only the sixth rookie TE to put up over 500 yards and at least 4 touchdowns in a rookie season, albeit third since 2013. The question then became, who is this year’s Herndon?
After reading and watching report and film, I stumbled upon someone that I think the Who Dat Nation should keep in mind. He checks all the boxes for a Saints late-round pick. He’s a developing player at a position in need of depth, has incredible size at 6’8″ 240 lbs., attends a small FCS school, and is likely to have insane measurables to accompany his impressive stats. The talented Stetson Hatter accumulated 180 catches, 2,591 yards (14.4 per), and 20 touchdowns through the air. That includes a stellar senior season of 85 catches, 1,319 yards, and a whopping 13 touchdowns over just 9 games where he averaged a ridiculous 146.6 yards per contest.
Now yes, this is a Division-I FCS school so the level of competition is low and yada yada. But Parham wasn’t just playing well against his level of competition. He was absolutely dominating it. Which is exactly what you need to see from a potential small-school prospect who was named AP All-Conference FCS this season. Not to mention that, regardless of level of comp, it’s informative and encourging to see that Parham can impact the game in-line, in the slot, or on the outside. Versitility is very important in Sean Payton’s offensive and Parham has a diverse catalogue.
There’s more to Parham than his catching ability, though. Though his catch radius and ability to make contested catches will immediately grab your eye, he also shows potential as an in-line blocker and can create after the catch. He’s able to bounce off of tacklers, spin and keep his balance, and simply overpower players smaller than him- which is just about everyone. Plus, he’s got unprecedented speed for a guy his height. He’s projected to run a 4.56 40 at his Pro Day, which I believe will be on the 29th of March with Bethune-Cookman University. Stetson ran their Pro Day along with B-CU’s last year, for which the Saints were in attendance.
So 6’8″, 240 lbs., can catch and block, and is expected to run what would be tied for the second-fastest TE 40 at this year’s combine with UCLA’s Caleb Wilson? Don’t sound too shabby. Of, and by the way, If you’re concerned about his weight at 240, remember that an often mocked TE from last year’s class has almost the same frame. Drafted in the second round by the Miami Dolphins Mike Gesicki stands at 6’6″ and weighs 245 lbs. Not too different for Parham and lacking in any blocking ability at all.
Definitely a name to keep your eye out for in the final day of the draft. At least until that Pro Day when his name might become a bit more popular. Right now he’s still ranked by draftdiamonds.com (who made this prospect video) as a 7th rounder/UDFA after turning heads at the Senior Bowl. A Senior Bowl visit that reportedly included a 36″ vertical leap and 84″ wingspan at the Senior Bowl according to Jim Nagy. Parham would be a huge mismatch option for the Saints if they can develop him. Unlike Herndon and a couple others such as Evan Engram, not many rookie TEs turn it on their first season. So the expectation shouldn’t be that Parham could come into New Orleans and make a huge impact this year. But if you ask me, I’d sure like to give him the chance.
Follow Ross on Twitter @RossJacksonASC