Undrafted gems are a good way to fill a team's need. I believe that center Alex Parsons is this year's undrafted gem.
Desmond Bryant was an udrafted gem from last year. He may not have been big time, but he did help the run defense improve a little. The fact that he made the team makes him one in itself.
Tommy Kelly is a bigtime undrafted gem with the bigtime salary. His numbers aren't up, but they will be this year as he finally has some help on the defensive line.
So what makes me think that Parsons is that guy?
Parsons is a high character guy that comes from a football factory called USC.
So what does that mean?
It means a lot of things.
For one, it means he's used to winning. He is less likely to tolerate anything less than his best effort than most rookies will coming in.
Another thing about USC is that they run the zone-blocking system. Parsons probably knows the system better than current center Samson Satele.
Pete Carroll said of Parsons, "He's a really good player that has excellent quickness. He knows his calls and knows the whole system cold."
This was said after he was asked to move to center from guard for injured Kristopher O'Dowd. O'Dowd was an All-Pac 10 center that Carroll wasn't too worried about losing because of Parsons. Carroll also said of Parsons, "We are lucky to have him."
So why wasn't he drafted as a center?
As I just said, he didn't play much center as he backed an All Pac 10 center up while starting at guard. O'Dowd was already at center when Parsons converted from defensive tackle to fill a need.
Why wasn't he drafted as a guard?
Parsons is a 4.93 40 guy, so he has great quickness. At 6'4, 310 pounds, Parsons has great size for a center.
310 pounds is small for a guard. His 25 reps of 225 wasn't anything to raise eyebrows at for a guard either. But the story behind his 25 reps lets me know exactly who he is as a man.
One month prior to his 25 reps, he was only able to do 13. He still remains at work with Adam Johnson of Velocity Sports, so that makes him a weight room warrior.
Does that remind you of someone?
The book on Parsons is the same. However, he does fall short of Groves' 31 reps of 225. But I know the work is being done as I write this.
Here is a look at Parsons' scouting report:
Alex Parsons, USC, 6'4, 310: He's an effective run blocker with a mauler style. Parsons plays with strength, toughness, and a nasty streak. He is a very athletic offensive lineman. He is a former defensive tackle who is flexible enough to play multiple positions along the offensive line.
That is much like the departed Grove in the nastiness department. I believe his report would have been much better as a center. The key is he plays with strength.
We shouldn't wonder why Parsons wasn't drafted. We should be glad he made his way into Raider Nation. I'm sure Davis sees some of Grove in him.
Satele struggled with calls and big defensive tackles last year. Parsons' scouting report and comments from Carroll tell me that he can solve both problems.
Satele should know the system by now, but he better be in the weight room.