Ranking the last 10 Commanders first-round NFL Draft picks

It's been a mixed bag overall...
Daron Payne
Daron Payne / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Jamin Davis

  • Linebacker | Kentucky Wildcats
  • No. 19 overall | 2021 NFL Draft

The Washington Commanders made one significant investment in their linebacking corps under Ron Rivera. And even then, one could make a strong case for Jamin Davis being utilized incorrectly.

Davis' physical profile meant he became a work in progress as a middle linebacker. There were some nice moments and the tackle numbers have been solid over the last two years, but his lack of coverage capabilities and subpar instincts meant there were asterisks attached despite the lack of quality around him on the defensive second level.

With Dan Quinn in the fold, expect to see Davis' role change. Bobby Wagner and Frankie Luvu joining in free agency means the head coach is likely to switch the former Kentucky star into more of an edge threat. This brings plenty of intrigue attached given the outstanding athletic gifts at the player's disposal.

4. Daron Payne

  • Defensive Tackle | Alabama Crimson Tide
  • No. 13 overall | 2018 NFL Draft

Daron Payne took a while to get going, but his breakout 2022 campaign was nothing short of outstanding. This showed the Commanders enough to justify a lucrative contract extension to prevent the defensive tackle from leaving in free agency. It was the right decision at the time, but he couldn't replicate this production last time around.

Payne mustered just four sacks and didn't look like the same force. He wasn't alone in that regard and the lack of edge threat also played a role in the player's regression. That said, there's some confidence he can bounce back with a fresh coaching staff leading the charge.

The Alabama product should be among the primary beneficiaries of Washington's roster overhaul and coaching revamp. Payne is getting paid as one of the league's best at the position, it's time for him to remind everyone why that's the case.