Daron Payne - Commanders DT
When the Washington Commanders handed Daron Payne a lucrative contract extension to prevent him from leaving in free agency, the trajectory was pointing up. Securing 11.5 sacks from the interior was a huge step in the right direction - something that gave those in power plenty of confidence that the player's best years were ahead of him.
It's hard to look at Payne's production this season and not think he hasn't regressed considerably. The former Alabama stud is finding life difficult against the run and his pass-rushing prowess is also falling by the wayside, failing to gain even one quarterback hit since Week 5.
To make matters worse, his only sack of the campaign came way back in Week 2. Something that must change this weekend against a New York Giants offensive line ravaged by injury.
Jack Del Rio didn't seem to have a problem with the way his defense tackle tandem was performing when speaking to the media this week. But the murmurings of discontent within the fanbase and from some reporters who cover the team are becoming increasingly evident.
Payne can start silencing some doubters with a dominant display versus the Giants. If the No. 13 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft can accomplish this, it should be enough to spur the Commanders to a much-needed victory if others also live up to their end of the bargain.