Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne - Commanders DTs
Spending so much high-end draft capital on the defensive line was always a gamble by the Washington Commanders. However, it's started to pay off thanks to the exceptional performance levels of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne - the team's formidable defensive tackle duo.
Allen has been one of the league's best at his position for years. His dominance against the run, ferocious demeanor when it comes to getting after the quarterback, and high-level commitment to leadership make him an integral part of Washington's plans next season and beyond, which is exactly what the Commanders hoped when they selected the Alabama product at No. 17 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
There was less clarity about Payne heading into the previous campaign. The Commanders didn't pick up his fifth-year option after an indifferent opening to his pro career, but the player responded positively en route to 11.5 sacks and a debut Pro Bowl appearance at the best possible time.
This left the Commanders with no option other than to give Payne a lucrative four-year, $90 million contract with $59 million guaranteed. Washington now has a prolific interior tandem that can provide the anchor for Jack Del Rio's defense as they look to become No.1 around the NFL in 2023.
If Chase Young can stay healthy and Montez Sweat remains consistent, this is the best defensive line in football beyond any doubt.