Just before the 53-man roster was set in September, many people were surprised the Las Vegas Raiders traded backup offensive lineman David Sharpe to the Washington Football Team and instead kept Brandon Parker.
Since the Raiders traded up to take Parker, a small-school tackle, with the first pick of the 2018 third round, he had been a disappointment. Parker started 12 games as a rookie as an injury replacement, and after starting three games in 2019 he was considered a liability. Now, after coming through in the clutch, Raiders coach Jon Gruden is trying to push Parker merch on Raider Nation.
Parker’s resurgence has been one of the great stories of the first 10 games of Las Vegas’ season.
Due to injuries at right and left tackle, Parker has been forced to start and twice he has started after waking up on game day, thinking he’d be a backup. Parker has produced in each of those games. With Brown still likely out until next month, and Sam Young dealing with a knee injury, Parker may continue to play for the short term.
“He’s been a big, big reason why we’ve been competitive on offense,” Gruden said of Parker. “Like I said a couple weeks ago, he was at breakfast in Cleveland and didn’t think he was going to play and he got a game ball against the Browns. The next week he starts at left tackle. We played well against Denver, he played at left tackle. Now he’s back over on the right side. Didn’t think he was going to start the game the day of the game, but Sam Young couldn’t go so give it up to Brandon Parker. If you’re a Raider fan out there, get one of those jerseys, No. 75.”
If the Raiders decide to move away from Brown in the offseason, Parker could be considered to be a replacement in 2021. At the very least, he is proving he belongs on the roster.