Browns: Top 5 defensive line targets in the 2018 NFL Draft
3. Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne is just another defensive lineman in a long line of Alabama defensive lineman in the NFL. Marcell Dareus, Johnathan Allen, and Jarran Reed have all come before Payne, and Payne seems to be the next man up.
Payne was a physical force during his time with the Crimson Tide, and his domination as an interior line presence will likely continue in the NFL.
Like Bryan and Davenport, Payne’s measurables are very impressive. According to 247sports.com, Payne measures in at 6-foot-2 and 308 pounds. Needless to say, Payne has the intimidating physical frame required as a defensive tackle in the NFL.
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Despite his massive size, Payne still has plenty of quickness to him. Against Clemson in the national semifinals in 2017, Payne recorded an interception return for 21 yards, setting the Crimson Tide up for an offensive drive to help put that game out of reach.
Payne’s only real weakness is a lack of statistical production. However, Payne is just much more impressive to watch on tape, rather than in the box score. He helps out his defensive teammates and is a total game changer on the inside of the line.
Before he committed to Alabama, Payne was a blue-chip prospect in high school, garnering a five star rating. He shined in college, and many consider him a five-star prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft, and a lock for the first round.
Next to Danny Shelton, Payne could be a great piece on an already good defensive line. Whether or not he will be there late enough in the first round for the Browns to trade up, however, remains to be seen.