After the Redskins made it official that Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne would be teammates again, the former was informed of a move that excites him.
As the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft began to unravel on Thursday evening, it became clear that the Washington Redskins once again were going to land an impact defensive player.
For the first time in the Common Draft era, four quarterbacks were selected in the top 10 with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and Notre Dame offensive linemen Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey also going during that stretch as well.
When the Redskins were on the clock at No. 13, they were ready to make Da'Ron Payne the newest member of the Redskins.
After Washington's front office called the 20-year-old to inform him of the news, Redskins Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams called Washington's 2017 first-round pick – Jonathan Allen – to inform him that he was being reunited with his Alabama teammate.
"After we made the pick, I got the opportunity to call Jonathan before it ever hit the television," Williams said on "Redskins Nation. "And I told him, 'You better be right, man. You better be right.' And he said, 'What?' I said we're going to pick Payne. He said, 'You've got to be kidding me.' I said, 'Yeah, we're going to pick Payne.'
"He was happy, as all our dogs. You watch [Allen] and [Matt] Ioannidis walk around here like two peas in a pod. Now there will be three peas in the pod."
Allen said he was surprised that Williams reached out, but he's excited to have Payne playing alongside him once again.
"I really didn't try to think about that, I mean I don't want people to get the impression that the whole time I'm just saying, 'You have to draft this guy.' That's not what happened," Allen told Redskins.com. "They asked me my honest opinion about him and I gave it to them because we were so close, a bunch of guys at Alabama. So I just gave them my honest opinion, I don't want people to think I was up there lobbying for him the whole time, but of course I want to play with my teammate and I'm excited that we got him.
"But it was one of those things where he was just giving me an update as to what we were doing and obviously I'm on board with it and super excited about it."
Allen added that the selection of Payne, coupled with Allen and fellow Alabama product Ryan Anderson, shows the mindset the Redskins are taking with their defense.
"It definitely shows the direction they want to go in mentality-wise," Allen said. "It's definitely an atmosphere that we're trying to change here with the Washington Redskins, it definitely shows that we're trying to become a more physical, aggressive defensive group and drafting the guys that they have is definitely going to help us move in that right direction. So that's kind of the goal that we're trying to move towards and just establish a new identity for ourselves."
While Allen said he hasn't talked with Payne much in the past few months, in part because he understands how hectic the pre-draft process is, he was there to provide advice when he was asked for it.
"I didn't really bother him because going through it last year, I knew it was such a busy time for him, I know it was stressful and he had to focus on what he had to do," Allen said. "He didn't know where he was going to go so I just gave him his space, talked to him, let him know I was here if he needed anything. But I probably talked to him once or twice between the national championship game and the NFL Draft."
On the field, though, the Redskins believe Allen and Payne can be the pillars for something special on a young defensive line.
"We feel like Da'Ron paired with Jonathan Allen and the rest of the guys – Stacy McGee and Matt [Ioannidis] and Terrell [McClain], Anthony [Lanier II] – I think he's a perfect fit," said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.