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Chargers 90-in-90: TE Donald Parham Jr.

Parham’s immense upside could finally be utilized under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

NFL: Preseason-Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Donald Parham’s first season playing football was as a senior at Lake Gibson High School. In that lone season, he recorded just 13 catches for 234 yards for four touchdowns while playing wide receiver. That small sample size, coupled with his obvious potential, helped him land at local Stetson University in the Pioneer Football League (FCS).

After playing in four games his freshman year (no stats), Parham earned his first taste of starting time the following season with six starts in 11 games played as a sophomore. He finished with 37 catches, 455 yards, and six touchdowns.

In his junior and senior seasons, Parham continued to progress and improved on his numbers with each year that followed. In 2017, he earned All-Pioneer Football League honors with a 58-817-1 receiving line. As a senior, Parham really took things to another level.

In just eight starts (missing two to injury) Parham recorded a career-best 85 catches for a whopping 1,319 yards and a remarkable 13 touchdowns. His peak single-game performance was a 12-catch, 257-yard outing where he found the end zone twice.

After earning consensus FCS All-American honors, he was invited to the NFLPA Bowl where he parlayed another strong performance into an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Unfortunately, he missed out on participating in the game due to another injury.

After going undrafted in 2019, Parham signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent. He was waived just a few weeks later on May 12 before signing with Washington. After being waived, re-signed, and waived once more, Parham ended up getting drafted in the ninth round of the 2020 XFL draft by the Dallas Renegades.

Through the five games played before the league collapsed, Parham recorded 24 catches for 307 yards and four touchdowns. Those marks were among the best for all pass-catchers and it helped land Parham back in the NFL, signing with the Chargers on April 14.

In his first season with the Bolts, Parham was an efficient red zone weapon for Justin Herbert in his rookie season. He ended the year with just 10 catches for 159 yards, but eight of those went for first downs and three were caught in the end zone for scores. In 2022, he improved his reception numbers to 20 catches for 190 yards while recording another three scores before suffering a very scary neck injury near the end of the season.

In his latest season with the Chargers, Parham was able to return from his injury to catch 10 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.

Basic Info

Height: 6’8
Weight: 237
College: Stetson
Experience: 3
Years with team: 3

Contract Status

“Donald Parham signed a 2 year, $2,535,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $400,000 signing bonus, $400,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $1,267,500. In 2023, Parham will earn a base salary of $1,010,000 and a signing bonus of $400,000, while carrying a cap hit of $1,210,000 and a dead cap value of $400,000.” -

The Good

When healthy, Parham has been an efficient player off the bench for Justin Herbert and the offense. Of his 40 career receptions, seven have gone for touchdowns (17.5 percent) and 26 have been for first downs (65 percent)! Parham’s elite length is a menace for opposing defenders and if utilized correctly, there’s not many players who can completely guard him if given the proper throw. His speed is tough on linebackers while his immense size is a heck of a task for most defensive backs.

The Bad

Injuries, injuries, injuries. Parham has immense upside in his specific role but nagging injuries, on top of one severe incident, have kept him from ever truly finding a groove with the Chargers since his first season in 2020.

Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?

Donald Parham is a lock to make the Chargers’ rostrer as the team’s backup tight end to Gerald Everett. He’s one of Justin Herbert’s favorite targets when on the field and the expectation is that their relationship will grow even further under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.