It's actually pretty remarkable that Jermey Parnell will likely step into training camp as the Jaguars' starting right tackle.
Not many people had Parnell pegged as a $32 million talent when he started his career in 2009. The road that led Jermey the Cowboys was inconsistent and choppy, dead-ending with him waived three times in two years.
After finally given a chance in Dallas, Parnell made significant strides in four years, finding playing time in all 48 games the past three seasons and starting in five last year. Parnell also started at right tackle in the Cowboy's two playoff games last season.
For Dave Caldwell, Jermey Parnell was a free agent that was hard to overlook. 6'6" 316-pound Parnell is not only big and athletic as hell, but carries a downright nasty intensity every single down. His forward and lateral movement is something that catches your attention, along with a stout sense of balance and speedy feet to keep him in position. Parnell's ratings and numbers tell the story of a great project right tackle. His film, however, shows that he can flat-out dominate.
The most recognizable attribute that Parnell enjoys is strength, and he definitely knows how to utilize it. Below, watch him create space with a single blow.
Parnell sets up, circled above.
At the snap, Parnell locks up his block, dropping his hands to bring them up under his opponent - something that tackles are taught religiously.
Big-man strength, however, can not be taught. Parnell is strong enough to lock up with his match-up and still deliver a blow that knocks his opponent about three yards off his mark. You can see the amount of separation Parnell is able to create with one single punch.
That little punch is something that Parnell has integrated into his game over time. When a defender is trying overpower Parnell with quickness to get to the edge, Parnell is able to think fast enough to disrupt their momentum by utilizing his own position and brute force. It's something Parnell has worked to perfect. My favorite example of this can be seen below.
Above, it's a two tight-end set for the Cowboys. Jason Witten is set in motion.
Devin Taylor (the Lions defensive end) tries to juke Parnell. You can see Taylor's feet in the air in the frame above, while Parnell hasn't bothered striking Taylor yet.
Instead of trying to reposition himself, and probably losing the battle in the process, Parnell holds his position and strikes right at the moment Taylor tries to cut around him. Look at how Taylor's feet are crossed over each other. Parnell is using Taylor's momentum against him, knocking Taylor off balance in mid-attack.
Another one thrown to the turf. Parnell stares down his kill.
Just for kicks, I went back and analyzed how soon-to-be-replaced Austin Paztor carried himself against an edge rusher. Paztor spent most of 2014 injured, and wasn't very effective when healthy. I'll be the first to defend the Jaguars offensive line and how they need room to grow, but I'll also be the first to agree that Paztor just won't cut it long-term at right tackle.
Frankly, Parnell just plays the position a lot more consistently than Paztor. I picked out one play from the Jaguars win over the Browns last season to show the difference between Paztor and Parnell.
Before the snap, Paul Kruger (No. 99) rattles around like a bull confined to a cage.
Here's the moment directly after the ball is snapped. Look at Paztor -- he's already leaning back, his hands aren't positioned under him, and he is utterly unprepared for the bull rushing straight at him.
To make matters worse, Paztor allows Kruger the first blow.
Then Kruger jogs around Paztor. Overall, not the best display of tackle aptitude. Blake actually throws an interception in this play, which is probably completely Blake's fault but I'm going to go ahead and blame it on Paztor because holy shit that was bad.
Jermey Parnell plays with bigger overall game than Paztor, and that is probably the best way I can describe the gap between the two. Parnell is nastier and craftier, and holds onto much more of that brick wall mentality you want from your right tackle. Paztor isn't useless, but Parnell is a puzzle piece that should provide a better fit into a young offensive line.
I included the play below just to show what I mean by "nasty".
It's a run play and Murray is going to take the ball towards the right guard.
Parnell seals, allowing Murray to cut right. This is the moment Murray starts to cut.
And this is the moment Murray starts to go down.
Everyone else is unlatching from their block, considering the play is pretty much over. Murray is on the ground, whistle blows. But Parnell isn't done with lunch yet.
The play is over when Jermey says it over.
Big Jermey takes out the trash. Nothing illegal, just a big man finishing his block. Nasty. I'd call that a welcome addition to the Jaguars offensive, considering the nastiest piece on the 2014 squad was probably Zane Beadles.
We've seen strength and we've seen nasty, but I also mentioned Parnell's athletic ability. Below is a great example of Parnell's versatility as an athlete.
Parnell is going to pull through the left C-gap.
Here he is running like the wind. So fast, he's a blur.
Almost-Jaguar DeMarco Murray takes the ball and cuts left. Parnell goes to set his block, cutting with the agility of a tight end.
Parnell seals the gap. Murray doesn't score, but I think he might have had a chance if the fullback was able to contain his side. Still, this is a great look for Parnell. To be a serviceable right tackle, you need great hands and great feet. Parnell also just happens to be athletic as hell and as determined as they come.
Overall, I think Parnell is the most exciting addition acquired through free agency last Tuesday. I can't predict the future, but as a prospect, Parnell's ceiling is as high as they come. Doug Marrone has a few pieces to work with, and now I think it all starts with Jermey Parnell.
And Parnell is just one of the big additions to a newly-patched Jaguars roster. At this point, Dave Caldwell's local approval rating might just be higher than that of an aquarium proposal. Acquisitions like Jermey Parnell should be the biggest reason for that.
The tape doesn't lie. Parnell is body and personality that will pay dividends for a young team like the Jaguars.