The Washington Redskins had the 13
overall selection on Thursday night and somewhat surprisingly – did not trade down in the first round, selecting yet another Alabama defensive player, defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne.
The 6’2” 310 Junior joins former Crimson Tide teammates Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson that were both drafted last year in the top two rounds.
The Redskins philosophy? The best overall college football defense for years has been Alabama in arguably the best conference in college football, coached by the best head coach in the modern era, Nick Saban should equal success on the next level.
Allen looked the part in four-plus games in his rookie season last year before a foot injury prematurely ended his first NFL campaign. Anderson was a non-factor and admitted to being in less than great shape.
As for what the Redskins are getting in Payne – here are some early impressions from watching some television cut-ups via DraftBreakdown.com.
Against Clemson in the 2017 National Championship game
– I noted that Payne displayed a very good burst and push of the pocket early. He had a sack of Deshaun Watson on a quick swim and shed move, which he disposed of the left guard in a 1-on-1 situation. It was very easy for Payne to penetrate and get to Watson.
In run defense, I noticed that Payne got pushed back consistently and also tended to play high in his leverage and technique.
This game was as he wrapped up his sophomore year and at age of only 19, so he still has a lot of growth in his body and game but it is something to keep an eye on at the NFL level.
On one play, Payne flashed his enormous power and burst off the line of scrimmage as he jolted the center backwards to swallow up a run play from the shadow of Clemson’s end zone. Raw power and quickness certainly are evident in Payne’s game.
2018 National Championship win for Alabama over Georgia
, Payne was largely dominant He played multiple positions and kicked Georgia’s teeth in from all of them. He was at the 1-Tech, zero, shaded over the nose and three-technique and put constant pressure along with hits on the Bulldogs’ quarterback.
Once again, when Payne played low and got leverage, he jacked up Georgia’s center and lassoed Sony Michel, for a loss. Michel was drafted at the end of the first round by the Patriots last night.
As this game wore on, Payne displayed better leverage and run-stopping ability, splitting double-teams and creating havoc in the backfield.
Clearly, two games does not tell an entire story, but they were two huge games that Alabama played in.
: Da’Ron Payne is a steadily improving player that keeps emerging and getting better in all areas of his game. His overall player grades have gone from 73.9 to 79.3 to 87.7 in his final season.
His pass rush grades, per PFF, have gone from 71.5 to 73.9 to 83.9 in 2017. His run defense has climbed from 73.0 to 79.8 to 85.9 overall.
However, Payne seem to run hot-and-cold, which you can see on tape. Per PFF, his run-stop percentage was a 9.2, which ranked 19
among interior defensive linemen. His pass-rush productivity ranked 49
out of the group.
Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins, Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade for Monumental Sports Network (www.DCHotRead.com). Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN