Daron Payne had a resume as stout as his 6-foot-2, 311-pound frame at Alabama when the Washington Football Team drafted him with the 13th overall pick. He was an aficionado of disruption with a talent for stopping ball carriers in their tracks.
And as millions saw during the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Clemson in 2018, he even dabbled in scoring touchdowns on offense.
"I didn't think he was going to throw it to me," Payne said of quarterback Jalen Hurts on "The Player's Club" podcast.
The play itself was the result of Payne lobbying to offensive coordinator Mike Locksley for three seasons. Whenever he walked past Locksley's door, he would give it a quick tap, pop his head in and say, "You know I can catch, right?"
Payne was already being used on offense prior to the College Football Playoff semifinal game against the Tigers as a fullback. You can imagine anyone would have an easy time running through the holes he created, let alone players like Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris.
So it was all well and good that Payne got to occasionally be a two-way player. He still had one question on his mind, though.
"When are y'all gonna give me the ball?" Payne remembers asking.
That moment finally came during his junior year when the Crimson Tide needed it most. Alabama was clinging to a 10-6 lead against Clemson, but thanks to a Payne interception that gave the ball back to the offense, it was able to drive to the Tigers' 1-yard line.
In comes Payne to run the play Alabama had been practicing all year. Prior to kickoff, he was told Locksley was going to call it in the game and that he better be ready.
Payne went in motion, slipped past the coverage and made the toe-tapping grab in the front corner of the end zone as if he had done it countless times before. Alabama went on to win the game, 24-6
"I got the ball and I had to do what I had to do," Payne said with a smile.
Nearly four months later, Washington took Payne in the first round, and he's the same dominant presence that guarded the Crimson Tide's interior with 166 tackles and 10 sacks. He grabbed his first career interception last year against the Seattle Seahawks, which helped Washington nearly come back after being down 20-9. And who knows? Maybe Scott Turner will draw something up for the Payne this year.
"I miss college, love college," Payne said, "but I'm trying to make some plays in the NFL."
For more insight on Payne's career in college and the NFL, check out "The Player's Club" podcast, HERE.