2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Purdue TE Payne Durham

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft we will 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 Purdue TE Payne Durham. 

#87 Payne Durham, TE, Purdue (R-Senior) – 6055, 253lb

Senior Bowl/Combine Invite


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Payne Durham 6’5 5/8”, 253lb 9 3/4 33 3/8 N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
4.87 1.61 N/A N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
9’9” 34.5

The Good

— Has good size, height, and length for the position
— Height, length, and leaping ability makes him a good red zone/jump ball target
— Possesses soft, strong hands to make contested catches
— Has the body control to work in traffic
— Creates after the catch by running through arm tackles
— Skilled route runner for the position over the middle of the field
— Utilized on speed outs, flares, TE boots, and leak routes to get open in space
— Has played in-line, in the slot, at H-Back, and as a fullback
— Possession receiver that is a good security blanket over the middle of the field
— Does a good job of stretching the seam vertically
— Holds onto the football when contacted by the defender at the catch point
— Does a good job as a move blocker getting a body on a defender
— Can make blocks in space on screens as well as in-line blocker at the LOS
— Gives effort as a blocker with good base and leg drive

The Bad

— Has a thin lower half relative to his frame
— Doesn’t generate much power as an in-line blocker
— Struggles blocking against base DEs in the running game and in pass protection
— Isn’t overly twitchy as an athlete in terms of quickness
— Lacks long speed and burst as a receiver
— Isn’t going to run away from anyone after the catch
— Can do a better job creating separation to avoid having to make so many combative catches
— Needs to fill out frame to be a more consistent in-line TE


— Redshirt Senior Prospect from Suwanee, GA
— Born June 15, 2000 (age 23)
— Played lacrosse prior to moving over to football as a senior in high school
— Appeared in two Purdue games as a reserve and redshirted in 2018
— Appeared in all 12 games in 2019 with four starts and caught nine passes for 82 yards and four touchdowns
— Started six games in 2020 and caught 16 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns
— Appeared in 12 games in 2021, making 10 starts, and caught 45 passes for 467 yards and six touchdowns
— Started 13 games in 2022, and caught 56 passes for 560 yards and eight touchdowns
— Second-team All-Big Ten (2022), All-Big Ten honorable mention (2021), Academic All-Big Ten (2019-22)
— Selling & Sales Management Major, pursuing MS in Technology Leadership & Innovation

 Tape Breakdown

Payne Durham went to Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, GA, where he shared the gridiron with current Steelers TE Connor Heyward. Durham went to Purdue while went Heyward went to Big Ten rival Michigan State, and Durham became a quality player at TE for the Boilermakers over the course of his career. He initially redshirted, but improved every season, seeing his playing time increase as well as his statical output. He capped off his career with a near 600-yard, eight TD performance in 2022 which netted him second team All-Big Ten honors.

When you plug in the Durham’s tape, you see a big, long TE prospect who carries himself like a power forward on the basketball court. He has the length and height to win jump balls against smaller DBs, also making contested catches in traffic as well as outside his frame thanks to his reach out and makes catches outside his frame. He made several impressive catches at Senior Bowl practices as you can see in the clips below, showcasing his receiving ability in traffic near the red zone.

He does a good job stretching the seam up the middle and holds onto the ball once contacted by defenders attempting to break up the pass. Watch this first clip in which Durham reels in the pass as he runs up the middle and secures the catch with a defender draped over him. In the second clip, we see Durham get popped by two defenders upon making the catch over the middle, having his helmet pop off, but completes the process of the catch.

For a bigger guy, Durham does a good job attempting to create after the catch. He uses his size to break arm tackles of smaller defenders, as you can see on this catch-and-run against Maryland. He catches the dump off then proceeds to turn up field and stiff arm one defender and keeps his legs churning to carry multiple Terrapins with him inside the 5-yard line.

Durham was used in a multitude of ways at Purdue, lining up all over the formation. They employed him on speed outs, TE leaks, and other misdirection plays to get him open in space for easy completions with a chance to run after the catch, like you see on this reception in the flat against Syracuse that went for a first down.

Durham was used extensively as a blocker for the Boilermakers — in-line, at H-Back, in the slot, and even at fullback on occasion. He does a good job squaring up his opponent and driving his legs on contact, making down blocks as well as blocks in space, as you can see in the two-play sequence below. He has upside as a move blocker at H-Back, coming across the LOS to put a body on a defender.

Durham lacks ideal mass on his frame as well as functional strength to consistently block base DEs in the run game as well as when asked to stay in and pass protect. He needs to play with a stronger punch and move his feet better. as you can see in the clip below. He gets beat around the corner by the defender, who swims over his shoulder and gets home for the sack.



Payne Durham is a proven receiver that can be a security blanket for a QB over the middle of the field as well as a true red zone weapon. He has experience playing all different alignments and can be utilized as a blocker, both in-line as well as on the move out in space. Durham is limited athletically when it comes to straight-line speed, burst, acceleration, and shiftiness. He needs to generate more separation as a route runner to avoid having to make contested catches regularly. He also needs to add more strength and mass to his frame to become a more consistent blocker.

When watching Durham, I got a similar vibe watching his game in comparison to Pittsburgh’s very own Pat Freiermuth. Freiermuth has near identical size and length and excels as a security blanket over the middle as well as being a threat in the red zone thanks to his size and contested-catch ability. He can create after the catch as well but isn’t going to beat anyone in a foot race. While Freiermuth gives effort as a blocker, he needs to get stronger to improve in this area and round out his game — like Durham at this stage in his development.

Given the depth of this TE class, I would expect Durham to go somewhere in the middle rounds as a potential value pick for a team looking for a developmental TE2. Durham can play all over the formation and brings that receiving upside but may never provide that dominant play as a run blocker. Still, he can contribute as a blocker and on special teams as he continues to develop into a more well-rounded player that can potentially become a quality starter.

Projection: Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 7.7 – Potential Starter/Good Backup (3rd Round)
Games Watched: at Maryland (2022), at (Syracuse (2022), vs Penn State (2022), Senior Bowl (2022)

Previous 2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles
OL O’Cyrus Torrence LB Jack Campbell WR Zay Flowers WR Parker Washington
DL Bryan Breese DT Jalen Carter OT Darnell Wright CB Joey Porter Jr.
WR Jordan Addison DL Siaki Ika DL Keeanu Benton CB Kelee Ringo
CB Cam Smith OT Dawand Jones LB Noah Sewell iOL Ulu Oluwatimi
LB Drew Sanders iOL Jarrett Patterson OG Nick Broeker OT Broderick Jones
WR Tank Dell iOL John Michael Schmitz CB Devon Witherspoon OT Paris Johnson Jr
LB Trenton Simpson CB Christian Gonzalez LB Henry To’oTo’o WR Jayden Reed
S Brian Branch DL DJ Dale EDGE Isaiah McGuire S JL Skinner
S Jordan Battle LB Isaiah Foskey LB Ivan Pace QB Anthony Richardson
EDGE Will McDonald OG Andrew Vorhees TE Michael Mayer WR Jalin Hyatt
C Ricky Stromberg CB Terell Smith CB Kyu Blu Kelly LB Dorian Williams
DL Jerrod Clark WR Ronnie Bell CB Emmanuel Forbes LB DeMarvion Overshown
OL Peter Skoronski OL Chandler Zavala WR Rashee Rice DT Gervon Dexter Sr.
CB Anthony Johnson OL Steve Avila LB Daiyan Henley DB Sydney Brown
DE Keion White CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson CB Julius Brents QB Malik Cunningham
OT Carter Warren DL Lukas Van Ness OL Cody Mauch OT Alex Palczewski
WR Marvin Mims DL Tuli Tuipulotu WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba RB Israel Abanikanda
DL Mazi Smith DL Calijiah Kancey WR Josh Downs LB Owen Pappoe
EDGE Truman Jones LB Jeremy Banks WR Puka Nacua CB Rejzohn Wright
TE Darnell Washington DL P.J. Mustipher DL Zachh Pickens EDGE BJ Ojulari
OL Matthew Bergeron EDGE Ali Gaye EDGE Nolan Smith DL Keondre Coburn
OG Emil Ekiyor Jr. ILB Mariano Sori-Martin CB Jaylon Jones OT Jaelyn Duncan
WR Rakim Jarrett EDGE Will Anderson DT Jaquelin Roy RB Tyjae Spears
CB Clark Phillips DL Colby Wooden WR Jonathan Mingo EDGE Viliami Fehoko
WR Jadon Haselwood EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah CB Darius Rush LB Mohamoud Diabate
CB Garrett Williams CB DJ Turner S Ronnie Hickman EDGE Nick Herbig
S Jammie Robinson EDGE Andre Carter C Joe Tippmann QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson
CB Deonte Banks CB Riley Moss EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore WR Jalen Moreno-Cropper
LB SirVocea Dennis WR Cedric Tillman EDGE Byron Young DL Byron Young
OG Jon Gaines II CB Eli Ricks EDGE Yaya Diaby DL Cameron Young
IOL Luke Wypler DB Quan Martin TE Sam LaPorta TE Zack Kuntz
RB Tank Bigsby OT Anton Harrison TE Luke Schoonmaker EDGE K.J. Henry
DB Christopher Smith OT Isaac Moore OT Richard Gouraige CB Kei’Trel Clark
CB Mekhi Blackmon LB Shaka Heyward OT Tyler Steen S Trey Dean
OT Blake Freeland EDGE Mike Morris S Brandon Joseph WR A.T. Perry
DB Jay Ward EDGE Lonnie Phelps OL Ryan Hayes S Ji’Ayir Brown
EDGE Zach Harrison DL Karl Brooks EDGE Myles Murphy QB Clayton Tune
WR C.J. Johnson WR Charlie Jones TE Brenton Strange TE Travis Vokolek
CB Alex Austin DB Anthony Johnson Jr. DL Moro Ojomo
To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!