2. Payne Durham
Purdue’s Payne Durham is a good blocker in space on wide receiver and running back screens. He is a very powerful and tenacious run blocker from the in-line position as he consistently showed throughout the year.
There is an improvement to be made with his pass blocking. When he was tasked to block pro prospect Maryland’s defensive end, Durell Nchami one-on-one, Durham lost on a play that ended with a sack. Also, he can get pushed back while pass-blocking, which is something he can work on.
Nevertheless, the former Boilermaker tight end is a willing and capable pass blocker. This was on display versus a formidable Penn State defensive front with their matchup. This also came through in other matchups versus teams such as Syracuse and others, including Maryland.
Durham looks fast on the field despite what his 4.87 40 at the combine would suggest.
Position wise, Durham lined up in-line, split, wing and as a receiver.
As for his receiving prowess, Durham is very good at working in the middle of the field. He is a good, sure receiver in traffic and he can also take short passes and turn it into a big gain.
During the Senior Bowl week, he showed NFL coaches his blocking abilities and that he is capable of making big plays downfield as well. Preparation and opportunity culminated with a nice catch in the Senior Bowl game.
Durham finished last season with 56 receptions for 560 yards and eight touchdowns. He had 21 career receiving touchdowns.
NFL Draft Buzz puts his overall rank at 208.0, up from 233 a couple of weeks ago. Mock draft database now has him at 175th overall. PFF ranks him 174th overall. ESPN puts him 213th.
Durham is a tight end who can do everything well. Like many rookies, it could take him a beat to get up to speed in the NFL. However, if the Bengals are still looking to add to the tight end room on day three of the draft who can come in and provide some of the things that Hurst did, for less draft capital than acquiring Washington would require, the team could do a lot worse than Payne Durham.