April 15, 2016 - Aaron Wilson
Cincinnati DB Leviticus Payne readying for Bengals, Lions' local prospect days
Cincinnati defensive back Leviticus Payne has the toughness of a linebacker and started at strongside linebacker for the good of the team as a junior. Payne also has speed, versatility and coverage skills working in his favor. Here's a link to his highlight video. Payne ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds, bench pressed 225 pounds 15 times and had a 32-inch vertical leap. Payne works out for the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions next week at their respective local prospect days. "It's appreciated and it's a blessing and honor to get the opportunity to perform in front of those coaches," Payne said. "It's almost like a dream come true, but a dream I haven't reached yet. I'm still working toward it. I'm very thankful for the opportunity to work out for them. I plan on doing my best and hopefully helping myself out with the whole draft process. It can be stressful, but hopefully this eases it a little more." The 5-10, 192-pound Detroit native played cornerback, nickel back, safety and a rover linebacker spot for the Bearcats. Payne finished his career with 132 career tackles, two interceptions, three sacks and five tackles for losses. Last season, Payne had 36 tackles, 3 1/5 for losses. As a junior, starting at linebacker, he had 55 tackles, two fumble recoveries, a sack and an interception. In high school, he was one of the top-ranked cornerbacks in the nation and chose Cincinnati over Iowa, Toledo and Bowling Green. "The team that drafts or brings in Leviticus Payne will get one hell of a person," Payne said. "I love football. I appreciate everything the game has done for me, and will do for me. I don't have a problem fighting for a spot and earning my keep. I understand that's part of the whole game. The team that gets me will get a hard-working, hard-nosed player who puts on his hard hat every day and goes to work." Payne recommends that scouts watch his game against Rutgers as a sophomore because it displayed his ability to play defense and on special teams. His game against Miami showed some ability, too, on defense. "I grew up watching the Lions, watching Calvin Johnson and Barry Sanders," Payne said. "It's going to be really cool to go home and show them I'm a hard-working dude. I'm just as hungry as everyone else. I plan on showing them my athletic ability and passion and talking to them about the X's and O's. "I would love to be an extension of a coach on the field. I'm really trying to get in that playbook. It would be awesome knowing everything that's going on around me and not just my job." Payne is represented by J.D. Ogilvie, a Houston-based NFL agent who played at Utah State and is a Columbia graduat.e "He made major contributions to special teams and at multiple positions," Ogilvie said. "He didn't complain about anything. He's a guy who's versatile with a defensive mentality and a high football IQ that allows him to play multiple positions. He has a motor unlike any other. He reminds me of Tyrann Mathieu. He can play a hybrid safety position and blitz the hell out of people. He sure knows how to bring the pain. He picks things up very easily and will outwork anyone." Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.