It’s rare to see football players on Long Island get an opportunity to play in the NFL, let alone be considered as a draft pick for one of the 32 teams. But Timon Parris of Floral Park finds himself with the unique opportunity to potentially hear his name called during NFL Draft weekend from April 26-28.
“I always liked football growing up,” said Parris. “I used to watch and play football at a young age. I love watching the game on TV. I really enjoy watching the Super Bowl. Football has always been a part of my life.”
Parris is a left tackle coming out of Stony Brook University, where he started 41 games for the Seawolves before fracturing his ankle in the eighth game of his senior season. However, the offensive line wasn’t always his position.
“I started out as a defensive end, but I guess offensive line just chose me,” said Parris. “It was the position I was best at. I came to love being able to just hit people and just be physical all the time.”
Parris earned many accolades for his play at Stony Brook, including being named a second-team All-American by FCS STATS and selected for the All-CAA team in back-to-back years (second-team in 2015, first-team in 2016). Parris feels that his head coach, Chuck Priore, was a huge part of what made him so successful.
“I learned how to be consistent playing the position,” said Parris. “He was great at teaching footwork for offensive line play, especially in the run game. I became a very good run blocker early on in my career.”
As a graduating senior, Parris now turns his attention to the NFL. He was invited to the Senior Bowl, one of the high profile all-star games that is a prime scouting opportunity for prospects, but unfortunately he couldn’t play in it due to the broken ankle. He was also invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where he met with all 32 teams.
“It was interesting going behind the scenes of what goes down at the Combine,” said Parris. “It was basically a meet and greet. [You] introduce yourself, and [coaches] want to know more about you, your background, your family, and stuff like that. [The teams] all gave off the same vibe. It was hard to tell which team was more interested than the other.”
While he couldn’t workout at the Combine, he was able to participate in all of the drills at his Pro Day on March 26, and is expected to be 100 percent healthy when he looks to become the first Stony Brook Seawolf to be taken in the NFL draft in school history.
“I’m just hoping to get the best fit for me,” said Parris. “I’m not really interested or caught up in on going high [in the draft] or undrafted. I’m just looking for the team that gives me the best fit to succeed.”
Parris has already gotten some attention in national media. ESPN’s Forrest Conoly said during the broadcast of Stony Brook’s week one loss to South Florida that Parris had “NFL Potential.” NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein projects Parris going in the fourth or fifth round of the seven-round draft.
Regardless of whether he gets drafted or not, Parris says that he is going to “enjoy the process” like former Seawolf and current Tennessee Titans linebacker Victor Ochi told him to. He’ll look to make an impression come training camp that he can develop into a reliable option on the offensive line.
“I try to tailor my game after the best offensive linemen, like [former Cleveland Browns left tackle] Joe Thomas, [Washington Redskins left tackle] Trent Williams, and [Dallas Cowboys left tackle] Tyron Smith,” said Parris. “I study all of their games and try to put them in my game just to be more consistent and a better overall lineman.”