After being selected as the No. 13 overall pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft to fortify Jim Tomsula's defensive front, Daron Payne transformed what was considered an overlooked front line the year prior, establishing one of the NFC's premier defensive units.
Payne joins Da'Shawn Hand of the Detroit Lions (Alabama), Bradley Chubb of the Denver Broncos (NC State), and Marcus Davenport of the New Orleans Saints (UTSA) on this year's list as the only four defensive linemen to achieve the honor.
In his first 16 games for Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky, Payne racked up 56 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Payne is the first member of the Burgundy and Gold to be named to PFWA's annual list since Brandon Scherff was given the honor in 2016.
Here's the entire PFWA All-Rookie team:
QB – Baker Mayfield, (CLE)
RB – Saquon Barkley, (NYG); Phillip Lindsay, (DEN)
WR – Calvin Ridley, (ATL); DJ Moore, (CAR)
TE – Chris Herndon, (NYJ)
C – Billy Price, (CIN)
G – Will Hernandez, (NYG); Quenton Nelson, (IND)
T – Mike McGlinchey, (SF); Braden Smith, (IND)
DL – Bradley Chubb, (DEN); Marcus Davenport, (NO); Da’Shawn Hand, (DET); Daron Payne, (WAS)
LB – Darius Leonard, (IND); Roquan Smith, (CHI); Leighton Vander Esch, (DAL)
CB – Jaire Alexander, (GB), Denzel Ward, (CLE)
S – Jessie Bates, (CIN); Derwin James, (LAC)
PK – Jason Sanders, (MIA)
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