2021 NFL Draft: Kwity Paye Player Profile

Kwity Paye

Kwity Paye NFL Draft Overview

Position: Edge Defender

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 261 lbs.

School: Michigan

Kwity Paye 2021 NFL Draft Profile

For Kwity Paye, it is all about potential. If he continues to develop at the same rate since his introduction to football, then Paye could have an outstanding NFL career. It could soar him to the top of this April’s NFL Draft. Paye could go anywhere from the fourth overall pick to the middle of the first round. The attraction has been his versatility to play in multiple defensive front alignments.

His family’s story of escaping from Liberia to the United States is very uplifting and inspirational. Paye’s mother was instrumental in him getting involved with sports. Quickly, he became an outstanding two-way high school football player. In 2016, Paye was named Player of the Year in the state of Rhode Island. He scored for 13 rushing touchdowns while recording 4.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss as an edge defender.

Paye committed to Boston College after his initial visit to the campus, but he decommitted after Eagles defensive coordinator Don Brown left the program for the same position with the Michigan Wolverines. It did not take long for Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh to convince Paye to continue his football career in Ann Arbor.

At Michigan, Paye struggled to break into the starting lineup in his freshman season. He did appear in nine games in a reserve role. Paye’s play caught the eye of Michigan’s coaching staff. His athleticism gained attention as he showed the potential of becoming a three-down defender instead of a situational pass rusher.

It earned Paye four starts in his sophomore season. After spring practice, Harbaugh named Paye as a full-time starter for his junior season and he did not disappoint. The edge defender recorded 6.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss as he became a difference-maker for the Wolverines in 11 starts. This production earned Paye second-team All-Big 10 honors. However, last season was a struggle as he missed multiple games due to injury.

Strengths

  • Great leadership skills
  • Tremendous work ethic
  • Explosive off the snap of the football
  • Active hands in the passing lane
  • Hard to move with one blocker
  • Excellent lateral movement from sideline-to-sideline

Weaknesses

  • Limited college playing experience
  • Lacks natural pass-rushing instincts
  • Fooled easily on screen passes and reverses
  • Drifts off path to the quarterback
  • Needs to focus more on the fundamentals

NFL Comparison: Jason Pierre-Paul

Teams With Need at Position: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers

Projection: First Round

Bottom Line on Kwity Paye

Right now, Paye is atop of this year’s edge pass rusher draft class, but there are plenty of questions about his potential. His current skill set does not match up with him developing into a dominant edge pass rusher. You may question if Paye’s development was stagnant due to Michigan failing to play up to expectations during his time in the program.

Some NFL teams project Paye becoming a defender who can pressure the quarterback from different positions along the line of scrimmage. But for this projection to come true, Paye must add bulk and muscle to his slender body frame. And that could come at the expense of him losing quickness to gain an advantage on a blocker off the snap of the football. It will be fascinating to watch which team decides that Paye is worth selecting with a high first-round pick. Will that choice be wise if he develops into an excellent run defender from the defensive tackle position? It is a question yet to be answered.

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