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NFL Draft: Jonathan Allen's linemen to watch and other prospects in the College Football Playoff

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USA Today Sports

NFL Draft: Jonathan Allen's linemen to watch and other prospects in the College Football Playoff

Editor's note: Alabama will play Clemson on Monday night for the national championship.

If Jonathan Allen calls a college defensive lineman dominant, it’s wise to listen.

Plenty of NFL Draft prospects will take the field for the College Football Playoff semifinals Saturday. They won’t all play for No. 1 Alabama against Oklahoma in the second of two semifinal matchups after Clemson faces Notre Dame in Cotton Bowl. 

From Allen’s perspective, there’s no doubt his Alma mater enters with a huge advantage in one area thanks to a specific standout, Quinnen Williams.

“I’ve been telling people for two years to watch out for him,” Allen said to NBC Sports Washington about the 6-foot-4, 289-pound lineman. “He’s just dominant. Technique-wise, he’s the top one out there. Athleticism. Just a baller.”

The NFL Draft community concurs. Williams is a projected top 3-5 selection should the redshirt sophomore declare for the April draft. Another Alabama defender, safety Deionte Thompson, should hear his name called in the first round. 

Others playing Saturday with first-round hope include Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown, Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell and Notre Dame linebacker Te’von Coney.

Allen, Washington’s 2017 first-round selection, chopped up opponents during his stint at Alabama, earning Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year honors in 2016. The run-stuffing Daron Payne took over as the Tide’s top lineman the following season and then reunited with Allen after Washington selected him 13th overall in the 2018 draft. Williams kept the forceful tradition alive.

He finished the regular season with eight sacks and 18 tackles for loss, two more than Allen generated in any individual season. Against rival LSU, Williams controlled the line of scrimmage with 2.5 sacks and 10 tackles.

It’s natural to compare Williams with his predecessors. Allen passed with an explanation.

“He’s his own thing. I can’t compare him to anything,” he said of Williams. “He’s a baller. I’m not even going to label him. Wouldn’t do him justice.”

Despite all that hype, there’s another lineman with the sir name Williams who likely pushes back on Quinnen Williams overwhelming Oklahoma. The Sooners’ offensive line, led by draft prospects Cody Ford and Ben Powers, is a formidable crew.

“I think the O-line is pretty much a sure hit,” Redskins’ seven-time Pro Bowl tackle and famous Oklahoma alum Trent Williams told NBC Sports Washington. “All five of those will be playing on Sundays.”

CBS Sports ranks the powerful Ford and Powers among the top 100 draft prospects in the 2019 class. 

When asked for a specific Sooner fans should watch with the NFL Draft in mind, Trent Williams cited a much smaller human. 

“Hollywood Brown!” Williams exclaimed.

The 5-foot-10, 168-pound junior won’t run over defenders. No need since he flies past would be tacklers. Brown had 75 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns during the regular season. CBS ranks Brown the No. 31 overall prospect.

Ferrell, who had 10.5 sacks in 13 regular season games for Clemson, is one of three Tiger defensive lineman ranked among the top 15 overall prospects by CBS. Only two will play Saturday. Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence is one of three Clemson players suspended for the Cotton Bowl after testing positive for a banned substance. Lawrence's absence puts more focus on the Tigers’ other impressive tackle, Christian Wilkins.

Notre Dame’s defense doesn’t lack for talent.  All three levels include Day 1 or 2 two prospects, including the 231-pound Coney, who can play inside and outside. He ended the regular season with 107 tackles.

Cornerback Julian Love is another Day 2 hopeful while tackle Jerry Tillery may join Quinnen Williams in the first round.

Defensive line doesn’t rank high on the Redskins’ lengthy list of needs for next season. It’s highly doubtful the latest Alabama dynamo falls to Washington’s likely landing spot in the late teen’s, though that was the conventional thinking before Allen slipped to 17. The Redskins pounced then. Good bet they would again especially if the front office asks Allen for an opinion.

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Winning a truck is DeAngelo Hall's fondest 2011 Pro Bowl memory

Winning a truck is DeAngelo Hall's fondest 2011 Pro Bowl memory

In the midst of the Pro Bowl being underway former Redskins’ defensive back DeAngelo Hall took a trip down memory lane. 

During Good Morning Football this week, the 2011 Pro Bowl MVP DeAngelo Hall said his favorite memory from the Pro Bowl wasn't exactly anything that happened on the football field.

You would think he would mention his impressive performance which included six tackles, an interception and a fumble returned for a touchdown. 

But no. His highlight of the day was winning a truck for his MVP performance. 

“I told my buddies going into it I wanted to buy a truck so I said hey, if I win this MVP I don't need to buy a truck so I called the shot ladies and gentlemen I really did," he said. 

It must have been a really special prize because to this day, he said, he still owns the truck. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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You have to see this video of Daron Payne buying his mom a house

You have to see this video of Daron Payne buying his mom a house

The Redskins drafted Daron Payne with the 13th overall pick in 2018, changing the big defensive lineman's life immediately. Making the NFL is a dream for many players, but going in the first round means even more. 

It means life-changing wealth, and for Payne, the ability to keep a promise to his mother. 

Not much needs to be added when a video tells the story, but it's worth noting some of the comments from Payne's Instagram page from other NFL players. 

Redskins DL Matt Ioannidis: "This is awesome! Congrats!"

Redskins DB Quinton Dunbar: "She was patient bro that’s everything ❤️"

Packers DE Preston Smith: "Bro that’s a blessing"

Redskins Director of Player Development Malcolm Blacken: "Man this is what it’s all about! 👊🏾👊🏾🔥"

Saints SS D.J. Swearinger: "Yeeeessssirrrr!!!! #congratsfoolie!!! That’s what it’s all about!! Being That Rock & Provider For The Love one!! ✊🏾"

Not the last, but maybe the best was former Redskins DL Ziggy Hood: "My guy I told myself I'm not crying on a sat morning, ✊🏾"

Payne has been one of the Redskins best players since he was drafted. In two years he's logged seven sacks and 112 tackles as a force in the middle of the team's defensive line. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS