Da’Ron Payne: The pick no Ravens fan wants to see


The Ravens have a million-and-a-half directions they could go with the 16th selection in the 2018 draft, but targeting Da’Ron Payne should be a no-no.

Wide Receiver. Right Tackle. Running Back. Linebacker. Edge Rusher. Quarterback.

These are the positions the Ravens need to address in the 2018 draft. Names like Calvin Ridley and Lamar Jackson are the most popular names surrounding the Ravens these days. Guys like Harold Landry, Derrius Guice, D.J. Moore, Mike McGlinchey, and Rashaan Evans also make plenty of sense in round one. But one name stands out that should terrify Ravens fans: Da’Ron Payne.

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What’s wrong with Payne? Is he a bad player? Not in the slightest. Is he an off-field headache? Not to my or anyone else’s knowledge. Is he injury prone? Nothing that pops off the page, no. So then, what’s the problem?

The Ravens don’t need him.

In fact, the defensive line should be the farthest need on the Ravens board as the draft is just hours away. Yet, Da’Ron Payne still seems like a realistic option that we aren’t talking about. And it makes sense. After all, the CFP superstar came on red-hot to end the season and dazzled at the combine, throwing up 27 bench reps and running a sub-5.00 40-yard time (4.95).

Da’Ron Payne is still a great talent

Payne was also a total force for the Alabama defensive line. Lost in a constant shuffle of NFL talent, Payne was able to stand out as the perhaps best player on the Alabama defense not named Minkah Fitzpatrick in 2017. While not a numbers guy by any means (3.0 career sacks), Payne is the kind of impact player the Ravens are familiar with. Ironically enough, Brandon Williams is a common comparison for Payne, and rightfully so.

Standing at 6’3″ 311-lbs., Payne is a mammoth of a man. With experience at nose tackle, Payne is certainly someone the Ravens historically covet. But, taking Payne would not only be a poor decision, but it would come back to bite Baltimore in the butt.

Baltimore is at a point where an impact is needed immediately if the team plans to continue its push towards the post-season. Getting a nasty edge rusher or a stud running back is the kind of move the Ravens need. Adding Payne is simply a luxury pick that the Ravens can’t afford, not with so many jobs on the line.

Bottom line:

Da’Ron Payne is a good player, but he wouldn’t provide the immediate impact Baltimore needs now. In fact, all that he’d do is get lost in a deep, talented defensive line shuffle. Being primarily a nose tackle, Payne would have to fight with both Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce for solid reps. That’s without mentioning other guys like Carl Davis (who is in a contract season), Willie Henry, Brent Urban, and Chris Wormley.

Da’Ron Payne just seems like the kind of guy Ozzie Newsome covets early. In Newsome’s last draft as a GM, there’s a fear in my heart that he might want Payne if he’s available. This isn’t the best move to make.

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Baltimore Ravens, you must add a year one impact. Da’Ron Payne simply isn’t that guy. I hope that he does well, but he just doesn’t match the value and immediate need Baltimore needs now.