The Washington Redskins selected Da’Ron Payne with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Here’s all you need to know about Payne, including our grade.
The Washington Redskins went with a defensive lineman out of Alabama in the first-round last year. They went in the same vein in the 2018 NFL Draft. Washington selected Jonathan Allen’s former Alabama Crimson Tide teammate in Da’Ron Payne at No. 13 overall.
To say that Da’Ron Payne is a freak of nature would be an understatement. During his time at Alabama, he had to wait until he got his chance, but he certainly took advantage of his opportunity over the last two seasons. Playing in the middle of the Alabama defensive line, he was crucial in his team winning their second national title in the last three years.
Payne is an incredible athlete, and he put on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine. Not only did he run a sub-5.00 40-yard dash, but he also put up 27 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. An elite run stopper, Payne has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowl player at the next level.
In terms of his strength, it was almost unfair for him to be playing college football. He was able to use his bullrush style to overwhelm offensive lineman, and teams had to scheme for him every week. You cannot teach the kind of skill set he brings to the table.
While Payne is tremendous against the rush, he does seem to struggle when it comes to the pass. He often times can get too high, and that enables him to be pushed around on pass plays. He also needs to get better at his first step, as it can take him an extra second to get his motor running downhill.
At the next level, Payne is going to have to be worked with in passing situations. While being more of a run stopper in college certainly worked in his favor, he has to be in the lineup on passing downs as well if he is going to be an elite player in the NFL. If he can get more fluid in his movements, he will be more than just a good player at the next level.
Payne has the intangibles you cannot teach, and he is one of the hardest workers for an Alabama team that has had the best defense in college football since he has been there. His weaknesses are coachable, which makes him a scary scenario for opposing offensive linemen.
Payne had essentially one great game at Alabama. He might be able to play off Allen very well professionally. However, the Redskins overdraft here and might have been best served going in another direction. While Payne has a high ceiling, he does have a low floor.