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Mel Kiper mock draft: Edge Kwity Paye to Giants at No. 11

ESPN draft guru gives Giants an edge rusher

Indiana v Michigan
Kwity Paye (19)
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Since the New York Giants signed wide receiver Kenny Golladay over the weekend, and to a lesser extent cornerback Adoree’ Jackson on Monday, it has been fair to wonder how that might change the perception of the team’s needs in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Well, we may have gotten our first hint in a new mock draft from ESPN’s Mel Kiper. In that mock draft, Kiper gives the Giants Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye. It’s worth noting that all four receivers — Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle — are off the board at No. 11.

Of the Pitts selection, Kiper writes:

The question I asked when I did my mock draft 2.0 was: Can the Giants get Daniel Jones a No. 1 wide receiver? Well, they’re certainly paying free-agent acquisition Kenny Golladay like one. That means general manager Dave Gettleman could try to address another position with this pick, likely on defense. Though I don’t have an edge rusher rated this high, Paye isn’t far off, and teams always reach for pass-rushers with intriguing physical prowess. I’ve heard that Paye is going to impress scouts at his pro day on March 26 and put up incredible testing numbers across the board. The production wasn’t there at Michigan — 11.5 sacks in four seasons — but I would bet on his upside, and you can see his tremendous first-step ability if you turn on the tape.

Valentine’s View

Paye is not my favorite selection for the Giants at No. 11. At a listed 6-foot-4, 272 pounds I’m not sure he can play standing up on the edge. I’m also not sure he will ever be a standout pass rusher. Pro Football Focus says:

In a class full of freaks off the edge, Paye still stands out for what he’s physically capable of. He’s a jumbo 6-foot-4, 272-pound edge with ideal inside-outside versatility. Anyone lining up across from him is going to be in for a handful all day. He moves the line of scrimmage with ease in the run game and can flatback tackles in pass protection on contact. His pass-rushing toolbox is still fairly barren, but even so, we’ve seen it improve by leaps and bounds over the past two seasons. If that progression continues, look out.

I do, though, believe that edge rusher becomes an intriguing possibility for the Giants at No. 11 considering what they have done in free agency. That is one position they have not truly upgraded.

Whether Paye, Azeez Ojulari, Gregory Rousseau, Jaelen Phillips or someone else is your cup of tea I do believe the possibility of an edge rusher being the pick here has increased.

It is also worth noting that Kiper passed on Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater, my favorite to be the pick should the Giants should to go offensive line here.