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Jaguars FB Derek Parish thinks he’ll be a two-way player eventually

Jaguars FB Derek Parish thinks he’ll be a two-way player eventually

Derek Parish began his final year as a defensive end with the Houston Cougars on a torrid pace. Just three games into the season, Parish already had five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. Then a bicep tear ended his year and collegiate career.

The former pass rusher is beginning his NFL career as a fullback with the Jacksonville Jaguars. But he isn’t entirely convinced his days of sacking quarterbacks are over.

“I still think I will one day,” Parish said of playing pass rusher in an interview with 1010XL’s Mia O’Brien on Friday. “Two-way player. Just learn my role at fullback and let ’em know I’ve still got it on the defensive side. That’s the goal.

“Right now, just fullback. Understanding that role and understanding the playbook, because coming from the defensive side, it’s a whole different language. But we’re getting it down each and every day, and I’ve been trickling in those conversations [about playing defense], so we’ll see what’s up soon.”

Parish’s transition from collegiate pass rusher to NFL fullback is likely due to his 6’1, 241-pound frame with 29 1/4-inch arms. Fifth-round pick Yasir Abdullah, who has 32 3/8-inch arms, is the first pass rusher ever drafted by Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke who has arms shorter than 33 inches.

Players who have found success beating NFL offensive tackles despite lackluster length are exceedingly rare, and Parish is about as far from the ideal pass rushing build as it gets.

Ultimately, his success with the Jaguars will first depend on his ability to contribute on offense and special teams. But maybe one day down the line, the former Houston pass rusher will add an NFL sack or two to his résumé.

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