Sleeper Weapon For Bucs?

July 6th, 2023

Bucs rookie TE Payne Durham.

One mystery concerning the 2022 Bucs offense was the appalling lack of targets for Mike Evans in the red zone.

The easy excuse — and maybe inaccurate — was that an incompetent was running the Bucs offense. Well, that excuse cannot be used any longer.

There is a clean slate. New offensive coordinator. New quarterback. And perhaps a new weapon.

Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports looked at one possible sleeper player on each NFL roster. With the Bucs, Trapasso went with rookie tight end Payne Durham.

Drafted: No. 171, fifth round

Impressive stat to know: Caught 21 touchdowns across four seasons at Purdue, with at least three every year

At just under 6-foot-6 and 258 pounds, Durham is an old-school, lumbering, moose of a tight end. He won’t separate on a regular basis in the NFL, nor will he juke defenders in space. Good luck corralling him though. Want proof? Durham forced 20 missed tackles on his final 101 grabs at Purdue in his last two seasons there. That’s a sizable rate for a tight end, and the vast majority of those missed tackles he forced were due to contact-balance, and major tackle-breaking capabilities. The Buccaneers did draft Cade Otton last year yet needed a TE2 with receiving talent. Durham can jump into that role instantly.

Well, Joe isn’t willing yet to jump in the deep end of the pool and trumpet Durham as a lock to make the roster and be the No. 2 tight end. Let’s calm down.

However, Durham is a big target. And he was known at Purdue for being a magnet in the passing game. He’s good at hauling in passes in traffic partly because, well, he’s a big dude.

He’s also slow. So Joe doesn’t expect him to grab a lot of long balls and expose the seam of the defense. But good hands screams red zone target.

You know who is also big? Evans.

11 Responses to “Sleeper Weapon For Bucs?”

  1. SB Says:

    Durham Will make the roster!

  2. Mike S Says:

    Durham’s has potential. Not saying he’s Gronk, but around the goal line if he can both block in the run game and catch passes there is nice value there.

    Otton really struggled blocking last year. It was an issue.

  3. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    The TE job for the Bucs is certainly there for the taking. Now,
    Who wants it the most?
    Seeing is believing.

  4. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    While Gronk was faster than Durham coming out of college, no way was Grpnk considered a speed TE. If Durham can be a solid blocking TE with threat of having good hands, he can definitely fit a need for the Bucs.

  5. Salary Cap Hell Says:

    Hope springs Eternal

  6. CrackWise Says:

    “So Joe doesn’t expect him to grab a lot of long balls and expose the seam of the defense”.

    If the Offensive Scheme isn’t built to get ME13 a lot of looks deep. Its highly doubtful the will be looking deep for Durham.

    I imagine Durham will however, be getting ton of looks as a 3rd and short option for whoever the QB is.

  7. OrlandoBucFan Says:

    I am excited about Durham. His film looked great! Big dude who can block and catch. He is not fast, but speed is sometimes overrated for tight ends. Yeah, it is great, but can he block? Can he catch? Is a read zone threat? Yes to all three.

  8. stpetebucfan Says:

    How many 6-6 260 lb humans have you seen? In real life. I say this with respect not denigration but the NFL is the National Freak League.

    6’5″ and over represent 1% of American men. 1 out of a hundred.

  9. gp Says:

    6’6″ 258 lbs 4.68 40
    Rob Gronkowski

    6’6″ 258 lbs 4.87 40
    Payne Durham

  10. David Says:

    That’s all nice and all talking about he’s slow and everything if we have a good offensive coordinator it shouldn’t be hard to design plays for any tight end to get open with Evan’s,Gage and Godwin on the outside and White coming from the backfield the Tight end should be open anyway that’s my thoughts on that

  11. garro Says:

    Finding tight ends who can consistently outrun LBs is not as easy as some people think. Most who can are hybrid types who are not asked to block. So Durhams perceived lack of speed does not bother me as much as whether or not he can block and get open in the red zone. BTW His tape showed at times he was slow at other times he looked fine. Joe thinks he looked slow in OTAs.
    The guy can definitely break tackles and run after catch.

    Go Bucs!