David Durden had an unconventional path to the NFL. He was a two-star recruit out of high school and committed to Mercer in 2017. Trying to follow in his fathers footsteps with baseball he chose to forgo his commitment with Mercer and was drafted by the Boston Red Sox to play the outfield. After one season playing baseball, he retired and decided to once again pursue his love for football. He returned to Mercer in 2018 and that year caught 18 passes for 407 yards with five touchdowns. In his sophomore season, Durden had 45 receptions for 647 yards and four touchdowns. He also returned 29 kickoffs for 750 yards and was named first-team All-Southern Conference. At the end of the season he entered the transfer portal and joined the West Florida Argonauts.
He missed out his first year at the Argonauts when the league cancelled the season due to Covid. The next season Durden made 34 receptions for 787 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also had six punt returns for 87 yards. In his final year at West Florida he really took off, recording 54 receptions for 1,128 yards and 13 touchdowns. On special teams he had 14 punt returns for 248 yards and one touchdown. His best game to watch was against Mississippi College where he broke for 172 receiving yards and scored two touchdowns.
Hands- 9 1/2
Arm Length- 30 3/8
Wingspan- 74 1/2
NFL Combine/Pro Day (Percentile)
10-Yard Split- 1.55 (54%)
40-Yard Time- 4.46s (70%)
Vert- 37 (70%)
Broad- 128 (86%)
Shuttle- 4.21s (56%)
3C- 7.00s (42%)
Overall- 57/100 (Priority UDFA)
Route Running- 50/100
- A solid and tough player that plays through contact well and absorbs hits positively.
- Takes every play with a positive approach and attitude.
- Has some impressive body control which was seen regularly on bad throws.
- Quick feet and releases extremely well.
- Always falling forward after a tackle.
- Good movement in short areas as a ball carrier.
- Scramble drill specialist. Finds space and understands where he needs to be. Caught plenty of passes and touchdowns on scramble drills.
- Loves to be physical as a blocker.
- Has special team ability on both sides of the ball.
Areas of Improvement:
- Has poor instincts as a route runner. Still very raw here and his biggest area of development.
- Has some fumbles/drops on his record.
- Had some issues with focus drops. His issues look to do more with the position of hands at the catch point.
- Resorts too often to a body catcher.
- Had a wrist injury that required surgery at the end of the season.
- Never played top quality competition to test his skills.
- Limited route tree.
- He’ll be 25 before the playoffs.
David Durden had a very un-traditional process to get to the Dallas Cowboys, but in that process there’s no denying his love and dedication for the game. When watching him what stands out immediately is his size and toughness. His speed, physicality and versatility to play out wide or from the slot will be the biggest factor for Cowboys fans to feel excited. He translates best for Dallas as a big slot receiver that can also contribute on special teams as a returner or gunner.
His short area ability and also how physical he likes to play as a blocker are also big checks in the box. Unfortunately, his competition level at college and lack of natural feel and instincts as a route runner leave him with a very difficult path to get on the active roster. The learning curve for him right now is one of the steepest on the roster due to the level he played at. But if he can keep up with the expected pace and develop, his upside is massive.