Payne Durham impresses in Senior Bowl week, could he be fit for 49ers?
Purdue tight end Payne Durham had a good week in Mobile, the 49ers need a good complement to George Kittle, and Durham could make a lot of sense.
The Senior Bowl is done and dusted and while there wasn’t really too much to talk about at the top of the draft, there are always some intriguing prospects hovering in the middle rounds who could intrigue the San Francisco 49ers.
The Niners don’t hold a pick until the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, unless they decide to trade up, so finding value once again is imperative for San Francisco in lieu of a more premium pick.
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While not an immediate need, one area that San Francisco will be looking to upgrade is the backup tight end position. Head coach Kyle Shanahan loves running multiple tight end sets in his offense because of the limitless ways he can utilize play action, but the team has never had a great backup behind starter George Kittle.
Luckily, this is a great draft for tight ends, and the 49ers can use one of their picks to invest in the position.
The Senior Bowl was full of talent at the position, too, and one who stood out and could be a suitable pick is Purdue tight end Payne Durham.
NFL Draft 2023: Payne Durham to 49ers makes sense
Don’t let his two catches for 24 yards in the game fool you. Scouts care more about the practices than the games anyway, and Durham had a big week in Mobile to put himself on the map.
Durham had 56 receptions for 580 yards and eight touchdowns for the Boilermakers this season. In Mobile, he repeatedly showed impressive receiving ability with some impressive catches in the practices as well as some good quickness to go with his size of 6-foot-5, 255 pounds.
Durham was a prospect for the third day of the NFL Draft, but he definitely improved his draft stock to get some second-day consideration now, too. If he was in a weaker tight end class like last year, he could have been an intriguing option for a team looking for a gem.
As it is, he still looks like an intriguing option for teams going forward. The 49ers definitely will be looking for someone who can contribute right away, and Durham looks like a potential fit as a receiving tight end.
Keep an eye on Durham, he could be a riser in the period between now and when the NFL Draft kicks off.