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2018 NFL Draft Grades: The Redskins get a B for picking Da’Ron Payne at #13

How do you grade the Redskins first round pick?

CFP National Championship presented by AT&T - Alabama v Georgia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Was Da’Ron Payne a reach at #13, a reaction to missing out on Vita Vea one pick earlier, or the player the Redskins wanted that fit a big need? In our initial reaction poll, the selection of Payne got a B grade from 44% of the voters, and 37% gave the pick an A. The early grades for last night’s pick seem to agree with the fans, giving the Redskins first round pick a B. The grades range from A to C, but the majority of professional draft graders gave Washington a B. Did your grade change since the pick was made last night and the alcohol wore off?

The Ringer

For the second straight year, the Redskins go with a tough, physical, and versatile Crimson Tide lineman with their first pick of the draft. Like Jonathan Allen, Payne is stout against the run, can play all over the defensive front, and offers the physical upside to develop into a disruptive interior pass rusher. But like Vea, Payne — who had just 3.0 sacks in three seasons at Alabama — needs to tap into that potential as a pass rusher for Washington to get the most value from this pick.

Fit: A

Value: B-

Bleacher Report(Kasabian)

Grade: A

SB Nation

Washington probably would have loved to see Vea here, but Payne isn’t a bad fall back. He rejoins former Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen in Washington and gives them a pair of excellent run stuffers. Payne is better than he’s getting credit for at creating pressure. This guy can come in straight away and help Washington’s run defense. Payne was the best defensive lineman for Washington and filled arguably the team’s biggest need. The NFC East features Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, and Jay Ajayi. Washington has a nice counter with Payne and Allen.

Grade: B+

CBS Sports

They needed to get help up front and he joins former Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen on that line. Solid move.

Grade: B

Payne wasn’t overly productive in college, but his ability to stop the run was desperately needed for the league’s worst run defense. If he continues to improve, he and former Tide teammate Jonathan Allen could be a great one-two punch for Washington.

Grade: B

Walter Football

The Buccaneers broke the Redskins’ hearts by selecting Vita Vea oen pick before them. Fortunately, there’s one other stud nose tackle in this class, and Washington was able to obtain him.

Payne is a solid choice for the Redskins, as he reunites with Jonathan Allen on the defensive line. The Redskins were woeful versus the run late last year, and Payne will definitely be able to help in that regard.

Grade: B

Bleacher Report(Tanier)

Strengths: Athleticism, preparedness, effort.

Weaknesses: Pass-rush technique.

Washington allowed 134.1 rushing yards per game last season, the worst total in the NFL. Teams crammed the ball down its gullet, particularly in the second half of the season. Injuries were part of the problem, but injuries were part of every problem in Washington: The whole roster needs to get deeper, not just healthier.

Da’Ron Payne is a standard-issue Crimson Tide interior lineman, which is to say he’s awesome: a natural 310-pounder with surprising athleticism, a tenacious work ethic, proper leverage technique and a small-but-useful arsenal of pass-rush surprises. Payne is more likely to hurry or spill the quarterback from the pocket than to sack him, but he’ll be a high-impact run defender who can stay on the field and cause congestion on third downs.

Payne is a fine player and a good fit, but it feels like Washington just sat tight here and let a bunch of higher-impact defenders get taken before this.

Grade: B

For The Win

A reach? Maybe. But Payne has the potential to be a game wrecker. Just ask Georgia, which couldn’t block him in the national title game. He’ll help turn around the Redskins’ 32nd-ranked run defense in a hurry.

Grade: B

Sports Illustrated(Benoit)

Was Payne really the player that Washington wanted, or were there resounding groans across the war room when Tampa Bay took Vita Vea just one spot earlier? Here’s an argument for why Washington’s front office will be telling the truth when it says Payne was its top target all along: he can rush the passer. A pass rush is critical when you play as much zone as Washington, and Payne, with his light feet and some oomph in his movement, should help a run D that ranked 29th in yards per attempt last year. Interestingly, Washington drafted an Alabama interior pass rusher in the first round last year: Jonathan Allen.​

Grade: B-

Yahoo Sports

It was clear, “Oh no, Vita Vea is gone, what do we do?” was the conversation in the Washington war room after Tampa’s pick. Payne is a solid player but is Washington trying to rebuild Nick Saban’s Alabama defensive lines?

Grade: C


Washington gets a bump here for filling its biggest need with Alabama nose tackle Da’Ron Payne, who fell in the Redskins’ lap at No. 13. I had given them Payne in a few mock drafts, and this pick just makes sense.



For the first time in franchise history, the Redskins have used back-to-back first-round picks on a defensive lineman. Da’Ron Payne will join his former Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen along the Redskins’ front. They needed a boost up front; players and coaches talked about this even before last season ended. The Redskins received good production from Allen and Matt Ioannidis in 2017, but the former only played five games and the latter was hurt for a good part of the season. The run defense suffered. Adding Payne gives the Redskins the necessary depth to withstand a brutal injury. Considering they’ll face running backs Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott a total of four times a season, having that depth up front will help.


What grade does Da’Ron Payne at #13 get?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    (245 votes)
  • 46%
    (247 votes)
  • 5%
    (31 votes)
  • 1%
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    (6 votes)
536 votes total Vote Now