Da’Ron Payne, DL
School: Alabama / Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior / Age: 20
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 311 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Round 1
NFL Comparison: Jurrell Casey
Defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne was born and raised in Alabama, so for him, one can only assume playing for the Crimson Tide was the obvious choice. The five-star recruit out of Shades Valley High School initially was playing over 345 pounds with Alabama, Payne played as a true freshman tallying 36 tackles and a half sack. Heading into his junior season Payne shed weight, dropping over 40 pounds to be around 305, and his change in weight was an immediate difference maker on the field. The quicker and more active version of Payne made all the difference at the line of scrimmage, all while maintaining his strength. Statistically speaking, Payne’s numbers as a pass-rusher does not shout “versatile defensive lineman”, but his production on tape stands out. Payne has also been proven to be a leader in the Crimson Tide locker room, easy to say his transition to the pros will not be difficult.
• Weight loss made Payne leaner, and strength stands out as a lineman. Havoc wreaker as a run defender.
• Incredible body control for player his size, excellent hand speed, agile feet too.
• A high motor player with good pursuit ability.
• At the snap, the explosion is not up to par. Can affect his ability to penetrate backfield consistently.
• Improved as a pass-rusher at Alabama, but still not impressive enough to be immediately considered a 3-down lineman.
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
Well, if the Redskins still are not in the hunt for a prototypical “nose tackle” (assuming Johnathan Hankins does not sign here) Payne is your guy. The rotation on the defensive line will still be above-average with the addition of Payne. Payne is another defender who has a great and natural instinctive ability in defending the run and sensing double teams. He has the proper technique in how to counter them, or even taking them on to help the second-level defenders make the play if need be. Payne will be a welcomed addition to a line who struggled immensely following the loss of both Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis at one point in the season last year. Payne is also young, who will be provided multiple opportunities to continue to improve as a pass-rusher. With Jim Tomsula being his defensive line coach, there will be no question that he will improve in that aspect. Eventually, Payne may become a three-down lineman, and I think he will.