NFL draft: Commanders select a cornerback in 2018 NFL redraft – USA Today

Daron Payne has been as advertised for the Washington Commanders since the team selected him No. 13 overall in the 2018 NFL draft. Payne has missed only one game in his NFL career, topping 50 tackles in each of his four seasons, including 22 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks.
Those are solid numbers from a defensive tackle.
Payne’s biggest problem is that he’s been overshadowed by former college teammate — and 2017 first-round pick — Jonathan Allen. Allen made his first Pro Bowl in 2021 and is generally recognized as one of the NFL’s top interior defensive linemen. Allen signed a four-year extension last summer, meaning it’s less likely the Commanders extend Payne, who is in the final year of his contract in 2022.
Looking back at the 2018 NFL draft, what if Washington had selected another position? Perhaps the Commanders would be more likely to extend that player. After all, it is hard to justify paying defensive tackles lucrative contracts in back-to-back seasons with both edge rushers — and former first-round picks — also up for extensions next offseason.
Ryan Musleh of The 33rd Team recently redrafted the 2018 NFL draft and gave Washington a different player at No. 13. That player is former New England Patriot cornerback J.C. Jackson. Jackson unbelievably went undrafted in 2018 before developing into a second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler in 2021.
Jackson signed a five-year contract worth $82.5 million with the Los Angeles Chargers in March.
Initially an undrafted free agent acquisition after the 2018 NFL Draft, no one will wait that long to secure his services knowing what we know now. While Jackson’s weighted Approximate Value is lower than both Jaire Alexander and Denzel Ward’s performance for the Patriots over the last few years has been undeniably impressive. Since 2019, no NFL player has more interceptions (22) than Jackson, and Jackson’s 37 passes defended since 2020 ranks first among all cornerbacks.
If Washington had selected Jackson, it would likely have never signed free-agent corner William Jackson III last offseason.
As for Payne, he still landed in the first round, going No. 23 to Jackson’s former team, the Patriots.
Redrafting old drafts is always a fun exercise but allows every fan to question why their team couldn’t predict superstardom for late-round picks or, in Jackson’s case, an undrafted free agent.
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Christopher Jones
Christopher Jones
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