NFL Draft

2022 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Duke RB Mataeo Durant

From now until the 2022 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling Duke RB Mataeo Durant.

#21 Mataeo Durant/RB Duke — 5113, 196 lbs.


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Mataeo Durant 5113/196 9 1/2 31 3/8 77 1/2
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
4.38 N/A 4.43 7.40
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
10’7″ 35 N/A

*Workout numbers come from Pro Day

The Good

— Bursty runner with good one-cut ability, lateral movement before he gets up to speed
— Shows vision to find the hole, able to bounce runs wide when defense collapses
— Shows good open-field speed, not quite to timed speed but above average overall
— Natural and excellent receiver out of the backfield, capable of making one-hand catches and looked comfortable in space, often split out wide as a wide receiver
— Willing pass protector with good blitz ID, shows proper technique and posture to make up for lack of size
— Versatile player who did it all for the team
— Productive back on a bad team
— Proven to be able to handle a heavy workload
— Shows special teams/coverage value early in career

The Bad

— Average size with slender frame
— Offers little power in his game, doesn’t break tackles and can’t fall forward on contact
— Goes down in open field too easily and limits chances to show speed, does not display great contact balance
— Does not have wiggle to make defenders miss, more of a straight-line runner when he gets up to speed in open field
— Struggles in short-yardage situations, can’t power ahead when defense collapses
— Lacks overall size to be lead runner the way he was in college
— Needs to show better ball security at end of runs
— Average wear and tear for college career
— Was not used in the return game


— 12 career starts for Blue Devils
— Career: 489 carries for 2562 yards (5.2 YPC) and 18 TDs, 55 receptions for 480 yards and four more TDs
— 2021: 255 carries for 1241 yards (4.9 YPC) and nine TDs, caught 27 passes
— Turns 22 in December
— Averaged 6.8 YPC in 2020
— First-Team All-ACC in 2021, named Team MVP in 2020
— Carried the ball 20+ times in seven games in 2021, including a 43-carry performance against Georgia Tech
— Eight tackles his first two years as backup/reserve special teamer
— Cousin Davon Durant played college football
— Three-star recruit out of HS, weighed 190 pounds, chose Duke over UConn, East Carolina, and several other schools (13 total offers)
— Ran for over 1500 yards and 19 TDs senior year of HS
— Successful track runner in high school, won several regional championships and placed second and third at state meets

Tape Breakdown

In the interest of looking far and wide with our profiles and Kevin Colbert’s unexpected presence at Duke’s Pro Day, I wanted to profile maybe the top Blue Devil prospect, RB Mataeo Durant. Durant burst on scene in 2021 with a great season and becoming the team’s full-time runner, their best skill player on an otherwise bad team. Watching Durant tape meant watching plenty of blowout losses.

Durant shined with a good Pro Day workout, including clocking in with a sub 4.4 40. On tape, he’s a good athlete who runs well in open space. I don’t think he quite plays to that 4.38 40 though his chances to run free in the Blue Devils’ offense was limited. Still, his speed is a plus about his game.

But what I like the most watching Durant is what he does in the passing game. He didn’t catch a ton of passes at Duke but he made impressive, one-handed grabs, and consistently caught the ball cleanly away from his body. They moved him all over the offense and he often aligned as a WR split out wide in empty sets or some 4×1 formations for quick screens to get him and his speed in space. He made two one-handed grabs in the clips that I saw, including this great TD grab against Georgia Tech, a game in which he carried the ball a whopping 43 times.


Despite being an average build with a slender frame, he looked good in pass protection. He shows recognition and technique to pick up blitzers. Watch him find the defender at the bottom of the screen and steer him upfield to keep the QB clean. Really impressive and heady play.


But Durant lacks really any power in his game. I don’t think I saw him break one tackle in all the clips of his I watched. He goes down on contact and can’t push the pile forward, struggling up the gut in short-yardage situations.


He also limited his chances to turn good runs into great runs, often tripped up or taken down in the open field by safeties.




Overall, Durant has some interesting elements in his game as a receiver and blocker that fit well with the modern NFL. And his ok-ish size means he has to contribute beyond that as a runner. He’ll work best in an inside zone, one-cut system that will utilize their backs in the passing game and flex those guys out wide. I had some trouble finding a NFL comp and this one is probably pretty easy to make but he’s a poor man’s Nyheim Hines or a Tyler Ervin type who lacks the return value that kept Ervin in the league. A borderline draft pick but quality UDFA add.

Projection: Priority UDFA

Depot Draft Grade: 6.1 – End Of Roster/Practice Squad (6th/7th Round)

Games Watched: vs Miami (FL) (2020), at Virginia (2021), at Wake Forest (2021)

Previous 2022 NFL Draft Player Profiles
QB Sam Howell OL Kenyon Green LB Chad Muma C Tyler Linderbaum
OT Trevor Penning QB Malik Willis WR Treylon Burks QB Kenny Pickett
WR Romeo Doubs DL Phidarian Mathis LB Damone Clark QB Desmond Ridder
OT Daniel Faalele LB Devin Lloyd OG Zion Johnson LB Nate Landman
DL Devonte Wyatt WR Charleston Lambo OL Luke Fortner QB Matt Corral
WR Jalen Tolbert DL Eyioma Uwazurike OT Charles Cross DL Travis Jones
WR Dontario Drummond CB Roger McCreary QB Carson Strong DB Jalen Pitre
CB Ahmad Gardner LB Christian Harris CB Kalon Barnes LB Aaron Hansford
OG Ed Ingram OL Cade Mays DL Matthew Butler TE Charlie Kolar
WR Alec Pierce  DL Perrion Winfrey CB Coby Bryant OT Ikem Ekwonu
LB Leo Chenal WR John Metchie III LB JoJo Domann OT Abraham Lucas
WR Skyy Moore OT Rasheed Walker DB Daxton Hill CB Kaiir Elam
RB Leddie Brown WR Jahan Dotson RB Dameon Pierce S Kyle Hamilton
WR Garrett Wilson OT Tyler Smith WR George Pickens LB Troy Anderson
OL Darian Kinnard OL Tyrese Robinson S Jaquan Brisker WR David Bell
DL John Ridgeway LB Malcolm Rodriguez WR Chris Olave CB Kyler Gordon
EDGE Myjai Sanders WR Christian Watson LB Channing Tindall DL DeMarvin Leal
CB Joshua Williams OL Jamaree Sayler DL Thomas Booker RB Jashaun Corbin
S Lewis Cine WR Danny Gray DB Verone McKinley III iOL Chasen Hines
EDGE Nik Bonitto OT Bamidele Olaseni CB Andrew Booth Jr. CB Alontae Taylor
DB Cam Taylor-Britt CB Derek Stingley Jr. OT Max Mitchell NT Jordan Davis
WR Justyn Ross ATH Wan’Dale Robinson CB Dallis Flowers WR Velus Jones
S Nick Cross DL Zach Carter LB Josh Ross RB Hassan Haskins
CB Cobie Durant CB Tariq Woolen H-Back Connor Heyward S Bryan Cook
WR Bo Melton EDGE Travon Walker S Tycen Anderson WR Emeka Emezie
DT Jayden Peevy C Alec Lindstrom WR Drake London EDGE Arnold Ebiketie
EDGE Sam Williams WR Jalen Nailor DL Logan Hall


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