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NFL Draft Results 2021: Indianapolis Colts select Kwity Paye

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces Kwity Paye as the 21st overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts during the 2021 NFL Draft on April 29, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces Kwity Paye as the 21st overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts during the 2021 NFL Draft on April 29, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Kyle Heim
ANALYST
Modified 30 Apr 2021
Feature

With the 21st pick, the Indianapolis Colts addressed one of their biggest needs by drafting Michigan edge Kwity Paye.

Defensive end Justin Houston is a free agent, leaving the Colts in need of adding another lineman to pair with the 2020 acquisition DeForest Buckner.

ESPN's Jon Greenberg called Paye a "terrific athlete who needs to be coached up."

How will Kwity Paye help the Colts in his rookie season?

Kwity Paye flashed his athleticism during an impressive Michigan pro day. The 6-foot-4 defensive end ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds and bench pressed 225 pounds 36 times.

Paye played and started in just four games during his senior season with the Michigan Wolverines but made the most of them. He recorded 16 tackles, including a team-leading four tackles for loss, and two sacks. He also added five quarterback hurries.

Michigan edge Kwity Paye chases down Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields during a game on Nov. 30, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Michigan edge Kwity Paye chases down Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields during a game on Nov. 30, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

As a junior, Paye started in 12 games, recording 50 tackles, including 12.5 for loss and 6.5 sacks. He added three quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery.

The productive junior and senior seasons led to All-Big Ten honoree recognition, and Paye capped his career with 100 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.

Pro Football Focus rated Paye as the top overall edge defender available in this year's NFL Draft, ahead of Penn State's Jayson Owen and Miami's Jaelan Phillips.

Prediction for Kwity Paye's rookie season

Kwity Paye adds needed help on the defensive line for the Colts after Justin Houston became a free agent this offseason. He joins DeForest Buckner, who the Colts acquired in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers before the start of the 2020 season.

Buckner recorded 9.5 sacks last season, and his 90.2 pass-rushing grade rating for the regular season ranked third behind Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones.

Paye will get an opportunity to learn from one of the best pass rushers in the NFL and have a chance to play right away opposite Buckner.

The Colts have five picks remaining in the draft: round 2, pick 54; round 4, pick 127; round 5, pick 165; round 6, pick 206; and round 7, pick 248.

Published 30 Apr 2021
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