- AProjectionRound 1
- Hand9 ⅜
Strong Points: Very strong and powerful. Very athletic for his size, with speed and a short-area burst. Top instincts and quick to find the ball. Better pass rusher than his stats indicate. Excellent run defender who is able to hold the point, shed quickly and get to the ball. Does an excellent job vs. double teams. Will chase the ball. Well-coached. Knows how to use his hands and finish consistently.
Weak Points: Lacks ideal height, which may limit where he can play at the next level. Was only a full-time starter for one season.
The Way We See It: Payne, a true junior, is a typical Alabama defensive lineman who had to earn his way to a starting position. His first two years he played as a backup but received significant play time as a rotational player. He became a starter last season and played very well. He has lined up all along the defensive line but gets his most reps playing on the nose. He is an excellent run defender who is able to hold the point, shed quickly and get to the ball. Has quick reactions and seldom gets caught out of position. His pass rush stats aren't impressive, but Payne is better than his stat line indicates. He has quickness off the ball, gets a push and can use his hands. He is more of a pressure guy than a sack guy. Payne is scheme versatile and, because he has long arms, he can play anywhere in a 3-man front but lacks the ideal height for a 5-tech. Can play on the nose or as a 3-tech in a four-man front. At worst, he's a two-down player, but I feel he will show more as a pass rusher once he gets to the NFL.