The Redskins have signed first-round pick Da’Ron Payne, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The defensive tackle has become the first Round 1 pick from the 2018 NFL Draft to ink his rookie deal.
Payne, an Alabama product, vaulted up the draft boards this year thanks to his run-stuffing ability. The Redskins pounced on him at No. 13 overall with the belief that he can also develop into a strong defender on passing downs.
“I think [fellow Alabama alum] A’Shawn Robinson was more talented than Da’Ron and I know Robinson had better (tackle-for-loss) and sack production than him, but Payne plays harder and I think he’ll be the better NFL player,” one NFC executive told NFL.com prior to the draft. “He’s thick and strong, but he’s also a really good athlete and I see his best football in front of him.”
Last year, Payne had 53 total tackles, a sack, and an interception as Alabama captured yet another National Championship.
Payne projects to be the Redskins’ starting nose tackle this year with defensive ends Matthew Ioannidis and Jonathan Allen on either side of him. Between Payne, Allen, and outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, the Redskins’ starting front seven boasts three former first-round picks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.