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30-Days, 30 Prospects: DAY 29 – Purdue Tight End Payne Durham

Tight End Payne Durham is a big target at the position, with the upside that would validate a spot on an NFL roster come Week 1. During his stay at Purdue, Durham had a total of 21 touchdown receptions, with an average of 10.1 yards per reception total. Additionally, Durham solidified himself as a true safety valve for his quarterback, generating over a 100 quarterback-rating average when targeted over a four-year span.

Durham is considered quicker than fast, generating a quick release and initial step off the ball. Moreover, Durham shows a high level of craftiness in his route running, often avoiding contact with defenders to complete the route. At 6′ 5″ and 255-lbs, he does a great job at creating separation to shield defenders while using his soft hands to go up and make a play. In effect, this makes him an excellent target in the red zone. Additionally, Durham has the ability to break tackles and fight for yards after the catch. Durham is also a willing and able blocker.

Durham unfortunately lacks the top-end speed to beat you in long routes, making him a very limited field stretcher. He also often does not catch the ball at its high point, allowing the ball to drop into his chest or body.

All in all, it is extremely difficult to overlook what Durham brings to the table, considering where he is projected to be selected in the draft. His ability to be a savvy target at the position, particularly in the red zone– an area where the Raiders have struggled over the years– makes Durham a virtual steal at #204, #214, or #220-overall. The Raiders should highly consider Durham if the position isn’t addressed in the earlier rounds.

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