The 2021 NFL Draft is almost upon us, and with it the end of Mock Draft Season — at least until Sunday’s “Way Too Early 2022” mock drafts.
But we still have a few hours left until we find out for sure who the New York Giants will be selecting with their first round pick. That gives draft experts from around the media sphere time to get in their “final” mock drafts of the season.
ESPN’s Todd McShay released his Final Mock Draft (inSider content) on Thursday morning. McShay selects Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye for the New York Giants, coincidentally joining The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, and NFL.com’s Chad Reuter in selecting Paye for the Giants.
11. New York Giants
Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
The Giants’ biggest hole right now is off the edge, and Paye is my top-ranked prospect there. They need to add more game-breakers to pair with Leonard Williams and keep their vastly improved defense strong.
I have a fundamental disagreement with McShay that Paye is the best pass rusher in this draft class. For my money, that’s Jaelen Phillips and it isn’t really close. However, Paye is probably the safest of the top EDGE prospects, with the kinds of traits that translate cleanly to what a defensive end is “supposed” to look like, an idea of what to do with those traits, and without a troubling injury history.
I also question just how well Paye fits into what the Giants want to do with their edge defenders. Paye looks like a classic defensive end to me, in the mold of Brandon Graham or Derrick Morgan. And while that’s fine for a player who sets an edge and defends the run on the way into the backfield, it isn’t well-suited for a player who needs to play in space as a part of a “multiple” blitz-focused defense.
As I wrote in my scouting report of Paye: “Instead of being a speed rusher, Paye will win with toughness, 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.”
That isn’t to say that Paye couldn’t play in a multiple blitz-happy defense. Jason Pierre-Paul and Chandler Jones have both shown that a “classic” defensive end can be schemed to be incredibly productive in that style of defense. However, it’s fair to ask if Paye has the same kind of bend and movement skills as two of the best defensive ends in recent memory, or if he is more of a linear rusher.