Chargers may have found a better Donald Parham with special UDFA signing

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

The LA Chargers added nine new players to the roster in the 2024 NFL Draft and it is safe to say that fans are happy with the draft class. This draft served as the start of a new era with Joe Hortiz and Jim Harbaugh and fans are impressed with what they see.

The work does not start with the draft class, though. Signing impact undrafted free agents can also play a huge role in building out a deep, talented roster. The Chargers have landed some truly impactful UDFAs in the past (Antonio Gates, Austin Ekeler), so the impact of these moves should not be overlooked.

Comparing any UDFA to Gates or Ekeler would be unfair but there is another undrafted Chargers player who compares favorably to someone the team brought in this year. One of the first UDFA signings reported was tight end Zach Heins, who has one very similar trait to Donald Parham: his massive size.

Zach Heins could be the new Donald Parham for the Chargers in a different way

Heins is a huge tight end who has traits that may lead him to get a roster spot with the Chargers after not being drafted. Parham actually signed as a free agent from the XFL in April of 2020, but the point still stands.

Parham was billed as a bid-bodied red-zone threat who could add some depth to the passing game. That has been the story of his career thus far and while he has made some strides as a blocker, it has not been consistent.

Heins is a bit different as his game is more predicated on his ability as a blocker. The product of South Dakota State plays with the kind of physicality that Harbaugh loves in his players. His tenacity in the running game shows, even if he might not be the most technically sound blocker, his strength and physicality play well.

This gives Heins a great chance at making the roster compared to the other UDFAs. Even if he is not playing many offensive snaps his rookie season, his tenacity will play extremely well on Ryan Ficken's special teams unit. There is always a place for players who play the game like Heins.

All that being said, there is some potential for Heins as a pass-catcher, too. He is not going to blossom into some elite pass-catching tight end, but he could be a viable red-zone option in heavy sets his rookie year. As he works with the Chargers coaching staff, there is potential there for him to become a familiar weapon in Greg Roman's offense.

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