Payne Durham would fit the Browns offense perfectly

Payne Durham, Purdue Boilermakers. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Payne Durham, Purdue Boilermakers. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

With the Cleveland Browns possibly looking for an upgrade over Harrison Bryant in the 2023 NFL Draft, Payne Durham becomes a name to watch

It wasn’t that long ago when Harrison Bryant was ahead of David Njoku on the Cleveland Browns depth chart. He never should have been, but even so, he had enough promise that the coaching staff was all-in on the former John Mackey Award winner.

Bryant was also given a huge opportunity in 2022 when Njoku landed a massive extension following the release of Austin Hooper. This meant Bryant was the No. 2 tight end and in Kevin Stefanski’s offense, that’s a huge role.

Unfortunately, he didn’t take advantage as he had just 239 yards on 31 receptions — which is an average of just 7.7 yards per catch. With that being the case, Cleveland could be in the market for another young tight end and one name to watch is Payne Durham of the Purdue Boilermakers.

Payne Durham fits the Browns offense like a glove

As great as it is to see a tight end get involved in the passing game, they really can make a difference in an offense when they excel as a blocker. That’s the case with Durham as the 6-foot-5, 258-pounder is very skilled in this area, especially when it comes to opening holes in the run game.

While Bryant was added due to his pass-catching skills, Durham would be an instant upgrade as a blocker. However, he’s still capable of making plays in the passing game — something he showed off during the Senior Bowl.

Over his final two seasons with the Boilermakers, Durham had 101 receptions for 1,027 yards with 14 touchdowns. He’s most effective when attacking a zone defense, finding soft spots where he can haul in the pass as a safety valve for his quarterback.

Right now, Durham looks like a potential day-three pick. That’s the exact value Cleveland would want as well, making this a dream scenario should they be able to land him.