Getting to know the Steelers 2022 UDFAs: RB Mataeo Durant

Getting to know the Steelers 2022 UDFAs: RB Mataeo Durant

After the Pittsburgh Steelers selected seven players in the 2022 NFL draft, they continued adding to the roster with ten undrafted free agents. With many draft profiles focusing on those players towards the top and middle of the NFL draft, it is time to get to take a look at these other members of the Pittsburgh Steelers who will have just as much opportunity to make the roster in 2022 as those who were selected in the draft, despite the more difficult path.

Remember, some draft profiles for these players are quite harsh as they are looking at them as a draftable prospect. Taking a flyer on an UDFA is a completely different story as many times the potential the player shows is what lands them on an NFL offseason roster.

Next on the list is Duke running back Mataeo Durant.


Mataeo Durant

Running back
Senior
duke
6’1” 195 lbs

In four years with the Blue Devils, running back Mataeo Durant had over 3,000 yards from scrimmage and 22 touchdowns. Durant had 2,562 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns along with 480 receiving yards in four receiving touchdowns. In his senior season, Durant had 1,241 rushing yards on 255 attempts with a 4.9 yard per attempt average with nine rushing touchdowns. Durant also was more involved in the receiving game in 2021 with 27 receptions for 256 yards and two receiving touchdowns his senior season.


Current Steelers at the position:

Running back

  1. Najee Harris
  2. Benny Snell Jr.
  3. Anthony McFarland Jr.
  4. Trey Edmunds
  5. Mataeo Durant
  6. Jaylen Warren

Draft Profiles:

There was not too much in the terms of breakdowns for Durant heading into the 2022 NFL draft. Here is a breakdown from si.com:

Pros:

Coyle: NFL caliber size running back with solid burst out of the backfield. Accelerates through the line of scrimmage and keeps his pad level low. Stays north and south as a runner, doesn’t waste movement moving horizontal, looks for a hole and hits it instantly. Stops on dime and accelerates well in the cut-back lanes. His vision is good, knives through the traffic well and gets to the second level. Does a good job finding cut-back lanes. Has homerun speed, will take big runs to the house.

Cons:

Coyle: Lacks power as a runner, has a hard time breaking tackles consistently. Needs to start using his off-hand more trying to gain extra yards. Not a slippery runner in space, goes down quickly after contact. Doesn’t show the agility to make players miss in space against second-level defenders. Foot speed isn’t there, doesn’t change direction as swiftly as other top backs. As a route runner, he wasn’t asked to do much out of the backfield, was used on swing routes and screen passes.

Summary:

Coyle: North and south runner that has home run hitting ability. Durant is a solid college back that should have an NFL future. His ability to find holes and hit them with speed will keep him in the eyes of NFL evaluators.

Here is another draft profile from nfldraftbuzz.com:

Strengths

Possess quick feet and straight-line speed but doesn’t have the elite burst to be a constant big-play threat. Improving patience as a runner, following pulling guards and makes good decisions on his cut.

Shows a surprising burst to beat linebackers to the edge. Can plant his foot in the ground and explode, showing better straight-line speed than expected.

Does not possess top breakaway speed, though he’s rarely caught from behind.

Not truly explosive, but possesses enough speed to beat linebacker to the edge.

Doesn’t possess elite breakaway speed, but is fast enough to gain yardage in chunks when he finds a seam.

Weaknesses

Lacks size to be a true power back, will not move piles at the next level.

Does not always read blocks behind pulling guards. May not be big enough to move piles at the next level and has a tendency to bury his head too soon.

A tall, upright runner who lacks great power as a runner. Not a quick-twitch athlete and is forced to gear down too much. Not very loose throughout his frame; looks tight redirecting. Will dance and leave his feet instead of taking what’s there.

Offers little in pass protection and poor technical cut blocking, fails to do more than slow down blitzers by laying down in front of them.


Film:

To finish off the breakdown of Mataeo Durant, no evaluation is complete without film:

(WARNING: Videos could contain explicit lyrics)

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