With an eye on more reinforcements along the defensive line, WalterFootball.com's Charlie Campbell has the Redskins taking Da'Ron Payne in his most recent mock draft.
Could the Washington Redskins once again go with an Alabama defensive lineman with their first round selection in the NFL Draft?
WalterFootball.com’s Charlie Campbell believes so in his latest mock draft, as he has the Redskins picking Da’Ron Payne with the No. 13-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Washington, of course, selected Jonathan Allen with the No. 17 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
“Payne dominated at the point of attack in 2017, stuffing runs while showcasing his freakish speed and athleticism,” Campbell writes. “On the year, he totaled 53 tackles, two half-sacks, three passes batted, an interception and a touchdown reception. I heard general managers and scouts raving about Payne all season.
“Scouts were already raving about Payne's potential in the preseason. He was the Crimson Tide's best defensive lineman in 2017, following Jonathan Allen's moving on to the NFL. Payne (6-2, 319) is a run plugger with a lot of potential to grow. When given the opportunity to rush the passer in 2016 and 2017, Payne was impressive, and sources have said that he helped set up sacks for Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, Ryan Anderson, and Rashaan Evans the past two seasons.”
In three seasons with the Crimson Tide, Payne appeared in 44 games and recorded 102 tackles (five for loss) along with six passes defensed, three sacks, two fumbles recovered, one fumble forced and one interception. Additionally, Payne recorded a one-yard touchdown reception in Alabama’s Sugar Bowl victory over Clemson earlier this month.
During his junior season in 2017, Payne earned a first-team All-SEC selection by The Associated Press, as he recorded 53 tackles, 45 of which came against the run according to his official Alabama bio
Along with his touchdown reception against Clemson, Payne recorded his first career interception along with two tackles and one pass defensed en route to Sugar Bowl Defensive MVP honors.
As a sophomore in 2016, the Birmingham, Ala., native recorded 36 tackles along with three quarterback pressures, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery, which he returned for a touchdown. Payne was named one of Alabama’s Defensive Players of the Week against Mississippi State, as he recorded a then-career-high five tackles while holding the Bulldogs to less than 100 rushing yards.
Payne was named a freshman All-American by ESPN.com in 2017, as he finished his debut campaign with 13 tackles (three for loss) along with one pass defensed and one fumble forced.
According to his NFL.com draft profile, Payne is “built like a wall of granite with exceptional lean muscle mass.”
“Tremendous natural strength. Could bench press 400 pounds in high school. Run-stuffer deluxe with elite contact balance and body control. Only on the ground when making a tackle. Plays like a pro. Has feel for adjacent pressure against double teams. Quick to drop his anchor and grow roots. Typical Alabama technician at the position. Debilitating initial punch jars offensive linemen off their gameplan. Two-gaps with arm extension and his eyes in the backfield. Offenses simply shouldn't run at him. Eats blocks and keeps linebackers clean. Has to be schemed against. Hands and feet are full synced. Gifted athlete who showed marked improvement as rusher. Increased pressures from 15 to 27 this year. Fluid mover with above-average range to chase. Utilizes slap/arm-over to work around blocker's edge. Can walk interior linemen back into pocket with bullrush. Considered one of the most respected leaders during Saban era,” his profile states.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein believes Payne comparable to current Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Brandon Williams. In five seasons, Williams has recorded nearly 200 tackles with five passes defensed, 4.5 sacks and three fumbles forced.