Virginia LB Parham to skip senior year for draft

University of Virginia linebacker Kai Parham will forgo his senior season with the Cavaliers to enter the 2006 draft.

Parham, 21, has already filed the pertinent paperwork with the NFL, well in advance of the Jan. 15 deadline for underclass players to petition for inclusion in the draft. He also has retained representation for the draft.

"We want to wish Kai the best in his pursuit of a career in
professional football," coach Al Groh said Wednesday.

The team's leading tackler in 2005, Parham established career bests for tackles (103), tackles for loss (15) and sacks (eight) during his junior season. A three-year starter, he registered 272 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, one recovery and three passes defensed during his career.

The Virginia Beach, Va., native played primarily at inside linebacker and that is where he likely projects at the NFL level. Parham has good size (6-feet-3, 253 pounds) and range and, while always a stout player versus the run, also improved his coverage skills in 2005.

Parham was regarded as one of the top linebacker prospects for the 2007 draft. Even with his early entry, he projects as a first-day selection in the 2006 lottery.

Parham earned his degree in African-American Studies last month.

He is the seventh Virginia player to leave school early for the
NFL, and third in two years. Tight end Heath Miller and linebacker
Darryl Blackstock left last year.

He also may not be the last member of this year's team to decide
to turn pro by the Jan. 15 deadline. Fellow inside linebacker Ahmad
Brooks is considering it as well.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was also used in this report. To check out Len's chat archive, click hereInsider.