The 49ers would be wise to reinforce their offensive line via the 2022 NFL Draft, and Dylan Parham would be an excellent addition for the long haul.
Using a top NFL Draft pick on an offensive lineman isn’t particularly flashy or exciting, but few criticize these kinds of moves.
After all, investing in the trenches is never a bad idea.
The San Francisco 49ers could afford to do this, especially on the offensive side of the ball after losing Pro Bowl left guard Laken Tomlinson in free agency and with question marks about right tackle Mike McGlinchey working his way back from a serious quad injury suffered last season.
And with veteran Pro Bowl center Alex Mack getting closer to retirement, it would be wise if the Niners used their first pick in the 2022 draft on an offensive lineman.
That particular selection will take place in Round 2, No. 61 overall to be exact, so it’s anyone’s guess how this year’s NFL Draft order will pan out by the time San Francisco’s number is called for the first time.
But if he’s available, Memphis interior offensive lineman Dylan Parham would be an excellent pickup.
What Dylan Parham would bring to NFL
At 6-foot-3 and 311 pounds, Parham might be slightly undersized for a prototypical lineman at the pro level. But he makes up for those shortcomings with notable mobility, speed and technique.
During Parham’s 2022 NFL Scouting Combine workouts, he ran an impressive 4.93 40-yard time (great for an O-lineman) and then backed it up with yet another excellent pro-day workout, too:
Additionally, NFL.com draft scout Lance Zierlein broke down some of the attributes the four-year starter could bring to his new team:
"Highly experienced guard prospect who helped open running lanes for backs who went on to play in the NFL. Parham falls below NFL size standards for the position but is very densely layered and plays with sound technique and above-average body control into and through contact. He’s a task-oriented blocker who is much better at firing out than playing on the move and his success could be linked to the rushing scheme he lands in."
One could view Parham as a solid option for all three interior positions, easily a day-two draft pick who could potentially be taken in the middle of Round 2.
And if the 49ers used their top pick towards the very end of the second round on Parham, it wouldn’t be a total shock.
Why 49ers would be interested in Dylan Parham
Right now, the Niners appear poised to replace Tomlinson with their Round 2 pick from last year’s draft, Aaron Banks, who saw only five regular-season snaps his rookie year.
That might work out. And if so, great.
But there’s also another need to upgrade over right guard Daniel Brunskill, too, while the most pressing long-term need would be finding a replacement for Mack, who’ll turn 37 years old in the middle of the upcoming season.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has traditionally relied heavily on veteran centers to anchor his offense. It’s why Mack was a high-priority free-agent signing a year ago, and it’s why San Francisco made now-retired center Weston Richburg a highly paid option before that.
Sure, Parham would enter the league as a rookie and wouldn’t be expected to shoulder any kind of load at center right away. But his four years as a starter at the collegiate level would help matters a lot, and him potentially emerging as a long-term replacement for Mack could turn Parham into one of those mainstays of the offensive line.