Good morning New York Giants fans, and welcome to another college football Saturday!
As former Giants’ GM Ernie Accorsi once said, you can never have too many pass rushers, and with that in mind we’re taking a look at one of the more highly regarded edge defenders in the upcoming draft. Michigan DE Kwity Paye might not be the first edge player off the board in April’s draft, but he is likely to be a steady riser over the course of upcoming process.
The 2021 NFL Draft doesn’t have a prospect like Chase Young, Nick Bosa, or Joey Bosa, but Paye will certainly earn fans both in and outside of the NFL.
Let’s take a look at what he brings to the table.
Prospect: Kwity Paye
Games Watched: vs. Wisconsin (2019), vs. Iowa (2019), vs. Minnesota (2020)
Red Flags: Groin (2020)
Height: 6040 (6-foot-4)
Weight: 272 pounds
Tackles For a loss: 23.5
Best: Size, hand usage, burst, motor
Worst: Short area quickness, lower-body flexibility
Projection: A starting defensive end in a 4-3 defense
Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye has a good blend of size, length, and strength for the defensive end position at the NFL level. Paye lines up on both sides of the Michigan defensive line, playing both left and right defensive end spots. Paye is also capable of playing out of two and three-point stances, and has adequate size, thickness, and strength to move inside in certain packages at the next level as well.
Paye plays out of a low stance, with good leverage to start the play. He flashes a good first step and explosiveness off of the snap of the ball. Paye shows polished hand usage for a college prospect, consistently winning hand battles with offensive linemen and preventing them from locking in their blocks. He consistently fights for, and wins, inside leverage on offensive tackles, then extending his arms and creating room with which to work. Paye uses a variety of pass rush moves, including a bull rush, swim move, and cross-chop, allowing him to win battles with strength or technique.
Paye is a disciplined run defender who shows good mental processing in diagnosing running plays. He is rarely fooled by misdirection and does a good job following the ball in the backfield. He is also consistently faithful to his assignment and practices good gap integrity.
Paye shows stiffness in his lower body, particularly in his ankles and hips. That stiffness limits his ability to bend and carry speed around the edge as a pass rusher, It also limits his lateral agility to quickly disengage from blockers and make tackles on athletic players in close spaces.
Paye’s first step off the line of scrimmage is compromised by inconsistent snap timing, to the point where he can be the last player moving at the snap of the ball. And while he consistently begins plays with good leverage, he has a tendency to lose that leverage if his initial pass rush move fails.
Michigan’s Kwity Paye projects best as a reliable starting defensive end in a 4-3 front. Defensive coordinators will appreciate Paye’s competitive toughness and discipline, as well as his ability to be a reliable player on all downs. However, he is somewhat scheme limited and is an awkward fit in most modern 3-4 defenses (or hybrid defenses based in one-gap 34 principles). Paye lacks the elite athleticism necessary to be a consistent star pass rusher, and will struggle to bend the edge or beat NFL caliber offensive tackles with speed.
Despite topping Bruce Feldman’s annual “Freaks” list for 2020, the reported 4.57 40 yard dash speed, nor 6.37 3-cone drill show (which, if true, would be the second-fastest time in NFL Scouting Combine history at any position) show up on tape. Instead he will win with length, strength, and technique, though coaches will want to work on improving his snap anticipation. Rather than the next Von Miller or Myles Garrett, Paye looks to be a player in the mold of Adrian Clayborn, Olivier Vernon, or Trey Flowers. A good, reliable defensive end who will be a consistent presence, but not a player to take over games.
Games to watch this weekend
Rather than break down a selection prospects from two or three games this week, we decided to point out the championship games which could be the most interesting and have the most impact on the upcoming draft.
We’ve talked about most of these teams at least once already, and at this point the best way to scout them is to simply watch and see which players step up against top competition.
(6) Iowa State at (10) Oklahoma
ABC - Noon
(2) Notre Dame at (3) Clemson
ABC - 4pm
(7) Florida at (1) Alabama
CBS - 8pm
How to subscribe
Whether you’re into the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast, Nick Falato’s fantasy football previews and League-wide recaps, or you find ‘The Chris and Joe Show’ more to your liking, you can subscribe to Big Blue View Radio from the show’s home page, our Big Blue View Radio Hub Page and all of your favorite podcast apps:
Finally, be sure to check out all of the shows across the expanding Vox Media Podcast Network.