Kris Durham is one of the players I'm really excited about from this years draft. At 6-5 212 pounds he has a chance to be a big time threat in the red zone for the Seahawks. To be honest, I had never heard of the guy until Saturday so I made it my mission to find out more about the guy. I had only seen the YouTube video and I was dying to see more of him. I chose his game at Mississippi State game to watch first because this was a game he started with A.J. Green out. Also, I wanted to check out fellow Hawks draftee K.J. Wright. The game is available here. I plan to watch his game against Arkansas next and maybe a few more because it's not fair to judge a player on one game. Anyway, here's my notes from the game:
Q1 13:54, 3rd and 13 at UGA 10, Aaron Murray pass incomplete to Kris Durham. (8:21 on video)
Shotgun set with Durham wide left. Durham runs a go route, beats his man but Murray overthrows him. A flag for pass interference is thrown at first but then overruled because the ball was uncatchable. Durham showed good speed on this play to beat his man. He's a lot quicker than most analysts give him credit for. I don't know why some people are ruling him out as a deep threat for the Hawks.
Q1 9:16, 3rd and 5 at UGA 47, Aaron Murray pass complete to Kris Durham for 10 yards to the MisSt 43, tackled by Jonathan Banks for a 1ST down. (18:35 on the video)
Murray in the shotgun backs either side, 3WR set with Durham as the X receiver wide right. Durham runs an in route and then sits in between the zones. Murray picks him out with Durham coming back towards the football. He turns and takes it for another yard or so. Very Stokely-like play here.
Q1 2:28, 1st and 10 at UGA 12, Aaron Murray pass complete to Kris Durham for 18 yards to the Geo 30 for a 1ST down. (32:02 on video)(1:30 on the YouTube video)
I-formation, twins right, Durham on the outside. Durham runs an in route, about 15 yards deep. With Durham wide open and no one around him, Murray throws the ball slightly ahead of Durham, but Durham makes up for the poor throw with an excellent diving catch. On the things I noticed about Durham from this game and his highlights on YouTube is that he's very good at adjusting to poorly thrown balls. I'd like to see what he could do with an accurate QB.
Q2 2:38,1st and 10 at MSST 40, Aaron Murray pass incomplete to Kris Durham, hurried by Michael Hunt (58:28 on video)
I-formation, Durham wide left, corner playing 10 yards off. Durham runs a go route. Seeing that he’s1-on-1 with the corner Murray throws him a jump ball. Durham slightly misjudges the flight of the ball and slows down a little early before turning an attempting the catch. The ball brushes off his finger tips. Not all the blame goes to Durham on this one as yet again the ball was slightly overthrown. If you watch this game one of the things you'll notice is that every time they get Durham 1-on-1 they throw him a jump ball. Bates would have liked this kid for his 4th-and-1 fades.
(apoligies for the poor quality)
Q2 2:27, 2nd and 10 at MSST 40, Aaron Murray pass complete to Kris Durham for 31 yards to the MisSt 19, GEORGIA penalty 10 yard holding on N/A accepted for a 1ST down. (59:52 on the video)(1:40 on the YouTube video)
Trips left from the shotgun, Durham in the slot. He fakes like he's going outside before slanting in. When he catches Murray’s pass he’s already got 3 linemen in front of him. It’s effectively a screen pass. Durham takes the ball in stride, turns on the speed and blows past 2 defenders. He races down the sideline before diving for the pylon scoring the TD. The play is called back for holding but this was a great play by Durham. I recommend watching it. His quickness is surprisingly good for a player his size. I never expected run after the catch to be part of Durham's game
Q2 1:31, 3rd and 7 at MSST 16, Aaron Murray pass incomplete to Kris Durham, broken up by Damien Anderson. (62:45 on video)
Shotgun 2 WRs left. Durham has 1-on-1 man coverage and runs a go route. Murray throws him a jump ball. It’s a slightly underthrown ball giving Anderson a chance to bat the ball down. It seems Durham expected him to get a touch because he seems surprised that the ball came to him untouched. However, it does hit him between the numbers and he really should have caught it for a TD.
Q3 9:05, 2nd and 4 at UGA 17, Caleb King rush for 2 yards to the Geo 19, tackled by Jonathan Banks. (79:17 on video)
Interesting play because Durham motions into the H-Back position and his assignment is to cut block the defensive end. He misses the block but does enough to divert the defender from the play.
Q4 10:40 3rd and 8 at MSST 25, GEORGIA penalty 14 yard holding on Josh Davis accepted, no play (102:00 on video)
Shotgun, 3WR set, Durham wide right. Durham runs a crossing route across the middle. Murray picks him out. He catches but as he begins to turn and run up field he takes a huge hit from the safety. Play is called back for a hold. Durham is shaken up and sits out the rest of the game. This wasn't a case of Durham being soft, he took quite a hit. I'm not sure exactly what the injury was. It was towards the head area so he might have been sat as a precaution.
Overall I came away very impressed with Durham. He seems to be a big, tough, deceptively quick receiver, with soft hands and pretty good awareness. One thing about this game that I can't stress enough is that Aaron Murray played horrible. Not only was his accuracy bad, but he literally is unable to make it to his second progression. He locks onto 1 receiver and if he isn't open, he tries to scramble. So on a lot of plays Durham was open, but ignored.
Durham was impressive run blocking, as you would expect from a player his size. He dominated both the corner backs in terms of physicality. I didn't get to see him take on a linebacker however so that part is unknown. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing his next game. Although looked on as a reach by most he looks like he has the potential to be a very good player in the NFL. Right now, he looks to me to be a lighter, quicker version of Mike Williams although probably not as strong. That's probably his upside.
At the risk of sounding overly optimistic I also feel it's important to point out that there is a reason Kris Durham was rated as a 5-6th round pick. He did not show NFL quality route running in this game and we all know how that debilitated Golden Tate last year. While quick on tape in this game, we should take account of the opposition he is playing. Needless to say NFL corners will be a completely different challenge. While he made some nice plays in the game and from other highlights I've seen seems to be a good catcher of the ball in traffic, there's nothing elite about his game. He probably does not have All-Pro potential and seems like the type of solid no.2 teams are always looking to upgrade on. I'm not sure he offers more than Ben Obomanu, other than size. But I need to see more of him before I form a full opinion.
I also took notes on K.J.Wright in this game and I'll post them up either tonight or tomorrow. I originally only focused on Durham but Wright really stood out and it was impossible not to take note of him. He seems to have a real eye for the football and there will more on that in my post dedicated to him.