NFL Prospect Profiles #4 Kwity Paye. I want to bring light to some of the guys that’ll be suiting up for your teams next season. Personally, draft night is my favourite night of the year. And that’s because I sit down with an understanding for a lot of the players who’s lives are about to change forever, and it helps me appreciate the deeper meaning of the NFL draft. It’s not simply, ‘who will the Dolphins select?’ and then once made clear turning the TV off and going to bed. It’s knowing what these guys went through to get to where they are, and enjoying the draft from start to finish as they achieve their lifelong dream. Disclaimer. I am not an NFL scout, these are simply my humble opinions on some of the talent heading to the league this year.
Kwity Paye – DE Michigan
In order for me to do these articles on this years top prospects and do them properly, I have to do my research, and this young mans story is pretty damn impressive. He’s on my ‘route for that guy’ board now.
I didn’t know much about him. But I do now.
His mother fled civil war in Liberia, Western Africa. She fled the country and landed in Guinea. Where Kwity was born. He carries the name of his grandfather, who was killed during the civil war before his mother was able to get out of Liberia. His mother moved to America with Kwity and his brother still a very young age. She couldn’t read or write at the time and had to go to school while still raising her boys.
The boys soon got into sports, and Kwity Paye drew attention from Bishop Hendricken High School, where his family would have to be able to commit to their end of the tuition fees if he was going to attend. His mother had to take a second job to afford it. But he promised her she wouldn’t have to pay for college if he could go to school and prove himself. At Hendricken, Kwity played defensive end & running back, also ran track, an athlete across the board, and he impressed his coaches from the get go.
Originally committed to Boston College, Kwity Paye went to summer camp where he’d meet Don Brown. Don offered him a scholarship on the spot… Kwity would take the offer, and he became a wolverine.
Kwity spent four years with the Wolverines. He contributed in rotation and on special teams as a freshman, and started to get into the rotation more in his sophomore (2nd) season. But it was year three where he’d really start to shine, racking up 26 solo tackles plus 24 assisted and 6.5 sacks.
With Chase Winovich & Rashaan Gary off to the NFL, it was this third season that allowed Kwity Paye to step up and take the leading role on the defensive line for his own. A team captain, and great on the field leader.
He only managed four games in 2020, due to a niggling groin injury, and the fact that the BIG 10 only played six games anyway. But still managed two sacks, both coming in a victory over Minnesota.
Kwity Paye can line up anywhere across the defensive line. He has great hands and can disengage an offensive tackle and blow past him with apparent ease. His highlight film also includes plays from the interior defensive line, getting lost among blockers and flying to the quarterback.
His athletic ability will certainly work in his favour. Having played running back in college, which is something not all defensive linemen can do, he’ll benefit from being a powerful athlete with good speed and get off. You can see him chasing down quarterbacks and running backs from time to time.
Despite only featuring in four games, Kwity still finds his name gathering traction as we now begin to approach the draft. He’s explosive, powerful, refined in his role and is only trending in one direction. He just keeps getting better and it’s believed that he has an impeccably high ceiling.
Work ethic never questioned, Kwity Paye knows exactly why he wants to be great, and emotionally explains in a short documentary that he does it all for his mum, who struggled and sacrificed so he could have this opportunity. Growing up as an immigrant and moving to the United States with nothing but each other can’t be easy, but the progress he’s made and name he’s built for himself is astounding. Draft night is sure to be an emotional night for he and his family, as their lives will change forever and the hard work will pay off. Kwity Paye will finally be able to take care of his mother and that’s exactly why he’s on my ‘root for that guy list’.
You can read his scouting profile here!
My NFL comparison would be Brandon Graham, but like, a quicker version. Kwity is less of a TJ Watt type who’s going to get around you and make a tight turn to get to the quarterback. He’s more likely to go straight over you. He’s more of a straight line type, and at 6 foot 4, 272 pounds, could be a real problem in the right hands in the league.
Kwity’s upside has no boundaries, if he’s improved year on year throughout college, and stepped up when it was his time to do so, just imagine what he could do if plugged into the right system in the NFL. So with that… where does he fit?
Well, Adam has him going 9th overall to the Broncos in his first mock draft of the year, which you can find here, and honestly, i’d have to agree with him.
I’d be surprised if Von Miller is still a Bronco going into next season, as injuries have limited his production and he’s now 31 years old. Von could be cut to save cap space, as he’s set to make a small fortune in the upcoming season. So using the top 10 pick to draft his long term replacement and compliment to Bradley Chubb makes a lot of sense.
It all depends on the Von Miller situation, and if the Broncos do decide to restructure his contract or keep him around somehow, then I’d have Kwity Paye landing at number 14 with the Minnesota Vikings. It’s a similar situation, they recently lost Everson Griffen, and Danielle Hunters injury prone season also a concern, pass rush is a real priority for the Vikings. Kwity Paye belongs on the edge, with his hand in the dirt, ready to explode and bowl your favourite teams tackles over. I love the upside. I love this young man’s drive. I’m routing for him.
Watch his short ESPN story if you have six minutes to spare…