DA'RON PAYNE

Alabama
DT

Prospect Info

College
Alabama
Hometown
Class
Birmingham, AL
Junior
Height
Weight
Arms
6' 2"
311 lbs
33”
Hands
9 3/8”

Prospect Grade

6.51
Chance to Become Pro Bowl-Caliber Player
How We Grade
40 Yard Dash
4.95
Seconds
 
Bench Press
27
Reps
 
Vertical Jump
28.5
INCHES
 
Broad Jump
107.0
INCHES
 
3 Cone Drill
7.58
Seconds
 
20 Yd Shuttle
4.71
Seconds
 
60 Yd Shuttle
--
Seconds
 
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Playlist

Payne came to Alabama as a 350-pound behemoth who was a top 20 national high school recruit, but for his senior year played closer to 300 while still keeping his elite strength to move back the center and shed the block to make plays. With Jonathan Allen in the pros, Payne took over as the playmaker inside, earning second-team All-SEC honors (53 tackles, one sack, one interception, three pass break-ups). Payne saved his best for last, dominating inside against Georgia in the national championship game. He was a 15-game starter as a sophomore in 2016, making 36 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks from the nose guard position. Payne started three games in the middle as a true freshman in 2015, stopping the ball 13 times with half a tackle for loss.
By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst
Draft Projection
Round 1
NFL Comparison
Ndamukong Suh
Overview
Payne possesses one of the most impressive combinations of strength and athleticism that we've seen from an interior lineman. He will be the premier run-stuffer in this draft, but he may have enough in the pass rushing toolbox to project as a better pro than college pass rusher. Payne is a game-ready starter who immediately upgrades a defense's ability to slow the run. If teams view him as just a run-down player, then his draft value could fall a little, but he could become a Pro Bowl defender early in his career.
Strengths
  • Built like a wall of granite with exceptional lean muscle mass
  • Tremendous natural strength
  • Could bench press 400 pounds in high school
  • Run-stuffer deluxe with elite contact balance and body control
  • Only on the ground when making a tackle
  • Plays like a pro
  • Has feel for adjacent pressure against double teams
  • Quick to drop his anchor and grow roots
  • Typical Alabama technician at the position
  • Debilitating initial punch jars offensive linemen off their gameplan
  • Two-gaps with arm extension and his eyes in the backfield
  • Offenses simply shouldn't run at him
  • Eats blocks and keeps linebackers clean
  • Has to be schemed against
  • Hands and feet are full synced
  • Gifted athlete who showed marked improvement as rusher
  • Increased pressures from 15 to 27 this year
  • Fluid mover with above-average range to chase
  • Utilizes slap/arm-over to work around blocker's edge
  • Can walk interior linemen back into pocket with bullrush
  • Considered one of the most respected leaders during Saban era
Weaknesses
  • Doesn't come off the snap with much juice and will pop up a little tall
  • Has athletic ability but is more of a phone booth defender than down-the-line tackler
  • Square-up player with average change of direction or ability to get the upper body turn to climb over and around the top
  • Pass rush can come to a grinding halt if his first move is stopped
  • Ability to play on rush downs could be the difference between first and second
Sources Tell Us

"I think A'Shawn Robinson was more talented than Da'Ron (Payne) 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. He's thick and strong, but he's also a really good athlete and I see his best football in front of him." - NFC executive

News

Path to the Draft

Five-round mock: Browns take Allen No. 1, Saints trade up for Mayfield

DJ's top 50 prospects 3.0: Darnold separates from pack at QB

Bold predictions for the 2018 draft

Ranking the 51 No. 1 overall picks of the common-draft era

GRADE
9.00-10
Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99
Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99
Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49
Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99
Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49
Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99
Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49
NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19
Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00
50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99
Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74
Chance to be in an NFL training camp
NO GRADE
Likely needs time in developmental league