Sleeper Payne Durham?

June 8th, 2023

Bucs rookie TE Payne Durham.

What makes a draft class go from OK to great is how many guys picked on the third day of the draft make the team, start and have an impact.

With that in mind, Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic looked back at this spring’s draft to cobble together a list of guys drafted on the third day (Rounds 4-7) who could be sleepers.

One playerBaumgardner identified is the Bucs’ fifth-round pick tight end out of Purdue, Payne Durham.

Outside of his frame (6-5, 253, 33 3/8-inch arms), there is nothing flashy about Durham. He’s not that fast; he doesn’t have much wiggle; if he averages 10 yards per reception, you’re probably doing OK with him. But if you throw him the ball 75 times, he’ll probably catch 70 of them. Durham has powerful hands, a great frame, and he understands the finer points of football, which allows him to give QBs friendly throwing windows over and over again.

Durham is a solid blocker who can be a dependable, team-first chain-mover in the NFL. He’s a three-down prospect who likely will start as a TE2, but there is TE1 potential here. Known at Purdue as a tone-setter because of the way he worked, Durham won’t get bullied as a run blocker in training camp — a lot of rookie TEs do.

Including rookie minicamp, Joe has watched five underwear football practices this year. This Durham is big and he’s a big target, but Joe will not try to sugarcoat it. Durham is slow.

Joe can see Durham being a solid target on short passes over the middle and maybe out in the flat. His main use, provided he makes the team (safe bet), is in the red zone, specifically goal-to-go offensive packages.

Durham is good in traffic. And again, he’s big. So he could be a hassle for defenses in the end zone.

21 Responses to “Sleeper Payne Durham?”

  1. Tap-Out Says:

    Being slow …will not help him in any way make this team!

  2. Leopold Stotch Says:

    Here’s a title for you Joe: “B1G Sleeper for Bucs?”

  3. AnonymousBuc76 Says:

    Gronk definitely wasn’t a burner but found a way to get himself open, I expect Durham to be a pleasant surprise for use down the road.

  4. shankasorous Says:

    Same frame as Trask. They’ll be able to see each other. 😛

  5. HC Grover Says:

    Sounds good.

  6. Dooley Says:

    Ko Kieft ran a 4.98 40 and Payne Durham 4.87, so I think PD fits right into our little crop of young TEs. Down in the red zone, with teams already having to account for Evans/Godwin it should open up some room for big bodied guys like Durham & Otton to be threats in the red zone. Don’t need to be fast to be a threat from 15-20 yards out and there aren’t many NFL TEs running away from defenses.

  7. Allen Lofton Says:

    Winning Football is about scoring touchdowns at the goal line, not field goals.

  8. Todd Says:

    And…he’s not prone to injury.

  9. gp Says:

    If he catches 70 out of 75 balls thrown his way and he averages 10 yards per?
    AND he can block?
    That would be Gronk level production.
    And nobody would care how fast he runs the 40!

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    At this point, I think its too early for us, as fans, to judge any of the draft picks. I’m hoping Licht struck gold at on at least 4 of them…which is above average for most drafts on most teams.

    To me, speed is way overrated. I see fans talk about it all of the time, and the first thing they look at is speed. But speed does not matter if the player can’t catch to ball, run the ball or play defense well, etc.

  11. Duane Says:

    There’s great value in having skill players – tight ends, wide receivers, or running backs – who are highly reliable at catching shorter balls to move the chains and score touchdowns. They don’t have to have blazing speed, or the highest jump, just reasonable body measurables and a nose for the ball and down and distance.

    If this kid provides that, then he’s a very good value for a day three pick.

  12. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    How much bigger than Otton is he?

  13. Dooley Says:

    @Jack Burton Mercer

    They’re literally the same exact size, both are listed at 6’5 250ish w/Durham being listed at 255lbs and Otton 250lbs even, but in Floridian heat and humidity that weight difference will fluctuate.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Otton & Durham are both 6’5″…..and way somewhat the same also…..Otton at 247….but I think he is bulking up……..Durham at 255 needs to bulk up a bit….

    Since speed isn’t an issue for him, I’d like to see him bulk up some to help with his blocking.

    I could be wrong but I think Licht has scored with some of these later round picks……Durham, Dennis, Palmer, Ramirez

    He did well with Camurda, Otton & Kieft last year.

  15. sasquatch Says:

    Tap-Out Says:
    June 8th, 2023 at 4:09 am

    Being slow …will not help him in any way make this team!

    He’s making the team. They have plans for him. And frankly, the roster doesn’t have anybody better even as a #3 TE, though I think he probably enters the season as TE2.

  16. BillyBucco Says:

    We have all seen Gronk catch passes over the top. Speed doesn’t matter when you have long arms and a big frame. DBs can’t run around these guys. Durham had significant production catching TDs and he can block better than Otton already.
    He is making the team easily and might end up being our best TE.
    It’s not like Ko Kieft was pushing Otton in any way, so hopefully this pushes Otton to get better.
    Provided our QBs can hit the TE slant consistently unlike the viral video showed.

  17. gp Says:

    Bring the PAIN!

  18. SlyPirate Says:

    Watch his tape …
    He gets open and makes tough catches in traffic.

    What I like best …
    He’s so hard to bring down. It’s like trying to tackle a oak tree.

  19. gotbbucs Says:

    He’ll make his money in the 1st and goal area hopefully.

  20. All_da_way Says:

    He may be slow but if he is intelligent enough to beat zone defenses he is going to be a solid three down TE for a long time.

  21. Rod Munch Says:

    SlyPirate Says:
    June 8th, 2023 at 2:32 pm
    Watch his tape …


    I did watch his tape, and he looked like a big, slow, lumbering TE who isn’t going to be able to get open in the NFL.

    He does have good hands, but you’re talking slower than Brate levels of slow – and not just slow, but lumbering, sluggish looking.

    His early years in college this was not the case, he looked like a big WR, but I think he had a growth spurt or something, because his highlights from this last year, I don’t know what the Bucs were thinking taking him that high, he looked like an UDFA from what I saw.

    But we shall see, my comments are only based off like 10-15 mins of highlights.