Alabama defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne has been a 311-pound anchor for the Crimson Tide for the past two seasons. His stats may not be all that impressive and may cause you to have your doubts, but this kid is a beast. Watch the film and judge for yourself. Believe me, there is a reason Payne is a projected first-round pick and can go as high as 13 to the Washington Redskins, where he would reunite with DE Jonathan Allen.
Once you watch Payne’s highlight reel, you will see a high-motor, high-energy player. What more could you ask for? I want players who play hard and play to the whistle every snap and I believe Payne is that guy. He doesn’t get a lot of stats because he eats up a lot of blocks. Most players would get discouraged, but not Payne, his motor keeps on churning.
Despite taking on constant double teams and even triple teams, Da’Ron still displays great technique and awareness. He has elite strength to shed off blocks and penetrate through the line to the ball carrier. The lineman even has enough speed to stop runs to the outside. I would say he is a sure tackler with strong hands. He has no problem disengaging from blockers to just latch onto running backs. Running backs should be warned not to run his way because not many rushers get by him. Payne is the true definition of a run stuffer. Now the question is; can he consistently apply pressure to the quarterback?
That question remains unanswered, but his combine workout definitely helped improve his stock.
40-yard dash: 4.95 seconds
Bench Press: 27 reps
Vertical Jump: 28.5″
Broad Jump: 107″
He is an athletic big man that is quite fast. His fastest unofficial 40-time was 4.91 seconds with a 1.67 second 10-yard. That 1.67-yard split was faster than Joey Bosa (3rd overall pick in 2016) and Solomon Thomas (3rd overall in 2017). The talent and potential are there and he could easily go in the top five picks, but due to team needs, it is doubtful that Payne gets drafted that high.
The defensive tackle is versatile enough to play in any scheme. A 4-3 scheme would be beneficial, so he can play tackle on either side. Payne could be inserted into the lineup right from the start and could end up being a future Pro Bowler. I expect Payne to be taken off the board in the middle of the first round. Look for the Cowboys, Bills or even the Chargers to draft this kid.