Tight end- Payne Durham, Purdue (6-5, 258)
It’s a loaded tight end class and Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave, one of the premier players in it, certainly had his moments during Senior Bowl week, but it was Purdue’s Payne Durham who was the real star of the group.
Durham, one of the least acclaimed tight ends in Mobile, was one of the most consistent blockers during the week. He brought it in one-on-one blocking drills against the safeties and made a few key blocks in team drills, both as a down blocker and lead blocker.
What really won the week for him though was his ability to high point the football and win contested catches. He made a wild catch in the end zone in practice where he lost his helmet, one down the seam with a safety on him, and another in the game for a near touchdown. He also showed more suddenness and nuance as a route runner in one-on-ones than expected.
Given the depth and talent of the class, Durham won’t have the same buzz as other tight end prospects, but he looks like a hidden gem to be had on mid-Day 3 of the NFL Draft.
Honorable mention: Josh Whyle, Cincinnati (6-7, 260)