Of the Raiders' six draft picks from the 2022 NFL Draft, they selected two offensive linemen to continue to create depth in the trenches. With the 90th pick, the team selected Dylan Parham from Memphis and then selected Thayer Munford Jr. from Ohio State four rounds later.
While the two athletes both play on the offensive line, their strengths vary. Both were also drafted with the intention of being versatile, having played at several positions across the line. Here are some of their top attributes that stand out when watching their college film.
You always hear film analysts singing the praises of players that are "twitchy." It's a word that, at times I admit, has been overused in player evaluations. But I'm sorry – Dylan Parham has great twitch off the line of scrimmage.
What helped Parham succeed at Memphis was his ability win off the line the majority of the time. We got a peek at that same speed at the NFL Combine, where he was the seventh-fastest offensive lineman in the 40-yard dash (4.93). The quick twitch Parham possesses is aided by the fact he played defensive end before transitioning into an offensive guard.
"I try to look at the tools and tricks, try to figure out what I didn't do as well, try and look for things that I used to show that cheat a little bit," Parham said when asked if his defensive lineman experience has helped. "And so, just having that background and just having that mindset like, OK, this is what I would normally do, especially on pass downs. Like, this is the type of rush I would showcase. It does help me to have some insight as to what those defenders will be doing."
One thing that Thayer Munford Jr. doesn't do is quit on plays.
A big strength of the Ohio State tackle is that he plays through the whistle and will always do what it takes for the play to keep going. With Munford's massive 6-foot-6, 320-pound frame, he does a good job of maintaining blocks, as well as picking up on multiple assignments that come with defensive line stunts and blitzes. While he did get a lot of snaps at guard in college, his ability to use his length gives him the chance to succeed at tackle at the next level.
"It was something that I wanted to do for myself," Munford said on his switch from tackle to guard in college. "I played three years [at] left tackle and I always saw myself as a versatile-type player, and I wanted to play guard too. So, I played guard this year. I think I did pretty well at guard. This year was basically on me, I brought it up to the coaches and the coaches never forced me to play guard. I said, 'Yeah, I'm a team player. Let's do this man. Let's do what's best for the team.'"
"I told [the Raiders], if you need me to play right tackle, right guard, left guard, left tackle, I'll play those positions," continued Munford. "I told them I want to win; I want to help this team win."
Big numbers behind big men
One thing that can't be denied is that several running backs and quarterbacks have put up big numbers thanks to the work up front from Parham and Munford Jr.
Parham has blocked for four running backs that are now in the NFL: Darrell Henderson, Tony Pollard, Antonio Gibson and Kenneth Gainwell. All four of those running backs went for over 1,000 total scrimmage yards in the season they had Parham blocking for them.
"I think athletic offensive linemen are attractive players, people that can play in space, guys that can play in the second level, guys that can play in the screen game, guys that can pull and hit movement and things like that," General Manager Dave Ziegler said after drafting Parham. "Those are good fits for our offensive system, so that's an attractive trait."
While Parham's speciality is in run-blocking, Munford Jr. has excelled in pass-blocking. The former Buckeye blocked for three Heisman Trophy finalists in Dwayne Haskins, Justin Fields and CJ Stroud. All three quarterbacks had a season passing for at least 40 touchdowns with Munford blocking for them.
"My first quarterback I protected was Dwayne [Haskins]. May he rest in peace. I loved him – and I still love him," Munford Jr. told Raiders.com. "Blocking for him was very special because he was my first one. He took care of me and made sure I was alright mentally, because he knew I'm his blind side. I'm the one who had to protect his back side. So if I let anyone hit him, that was a shot to me. And with Justin [Fields], I love that guy. That's my brother, man. And anyone who came from Ohio State, that's my brother. The brotherhood is real with us. It's a blessing to have blocked for them."
With Parham as an interior lineman and Munford on the outside, both should compete for some valuable snaps come Training Camp.
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