In truth, the Redskins can’t go wrong by landing one of these talented nose tackles. They’ve had a weakness at the position for the past two seasons and with their defense on the verge of being a top 10 unit, they have to land one.
Arguably, the best and safest option for the Redskins would be to ink Hankins to a deal. He’s the most proven of the three players, he’s still just 26, and adding him would allow the Redskins to select another top prospect in the first round of the draft. If the team signed Hankins and nabbed a falling prospect like Minkah Fitzpatrick, then they would land two starters while only using their cap space and a draft pick. So, that would be the best option.
If the team continues to deem Hankins too expensive, then I would prefer the team to take Payne over Vea. I think Payne has a higher ceiling and still has some untapped potential left. At the worst, he would be an upgrade over Ziggy Hood and at the best, he could be one of the league’s better nose tackles. Payne is definitely going to succeed as a high-level nose tackle, but I think his floor is just a bit lower than that of Vea.
But again, the Redskins can’t go wrong with this decision. All they have to do is get one of these players, and they will be set at the nose tackle position for at least the next five years.