NC State DT Cory Durden

Undrafted free agent looking to make his mark in the Detroit Lions This upcoming rookie minicamp will be an important one. Defensive tackle Cory Durden North Carolina State University

Lions see potential in Durden The team released Demetrius Taylor, who was drafted as a defensive tackle last year. Durden’s significantly bigger frame likely has something to do with it.

Durden is 6’4″ and weighs 292 lbs, down from the 315 lbs he weighed as a player at Florida State. Durden reshaped his physique to be more athletic and leaner during his final two years at Florida State. His long arms (34.25″) and wingspan (82.5″) are more in line with what the Lions desire on the defensive interior.

Durden’s college career was odd. In 2019, he was a rising star for the Seminoles after racking up seven sacks, 28 QB hurries and being hailed as a rising talent. A coaching and scheme change didn’t suit him well, eventually leading him to bounce to Raliegh and the Wolfpack. He missed Lions DT Alim McNeill by a year at NC State and somewhat took over McNeill’s role, but he wasn’t overly productive. Durden had just 3.5 sacks and 7.5 TFLs during his two-year tenure with the Wolfpack.

He still has solid strength despite his loss of bulk. For Durden to make the Lions, he’s going to need to keep his pad level and center of gravity lower; he tends to slide upright after contact. When he dictates the action, Durden does keep the weight balance low and can anchor, but it’s inconsistent across his game film.

Durden also did not excel at finishing after his sophomore year. He’s not quick enough to slip through cracks in the line, and his pursuit speed and lateral range did not stand out. His lost weight didn’t make Durden much quicker or faster, unfortunately. Durden wins with initial pop from his hands, strength in his shoulders and base (when he stays low) and a visibly strong motor that doesn’t stop until the last echo of the whistle.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire

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