Kwity Paye Selected By The Colts In The First Round Of The 2021 NFL Draft

With the 21st pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected former Michigan Wolverines football defensive end Kwity Paye.

Paye is the sixth former Michigan player to be selected in the first round and 32nd player to be picked at any point since 2016 (head coach Jim Harbaugh‘s first draft as the head man).

Paye is the second edge defender off the board in this year’s draft, behind former Miami (Fla.) edge Jaelen Phillips, who was taken by the Miami Dolphins with the No. 18 pick.

“He is a physical specimen,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said on the broadcast. “What he needs to be is coached up. He needs to develop a secondary move and get those sack numbers up.”

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Paye totaled 16 stops, including four tackles for loss, and two sacks in four games as a senior in 2020. He injured his lower leg in the third game of the campaign against Indiana and was forced to miss the next two contests before returning against Penn State, the game that wound up being U-M’s final one of the slate. He was U-M’s top defender, according to PFF’s grading system, and posted an elite pass rush grade of 87.1 while pressuring the quarterback 22 times in his four appearances.

All told, Paye racked up 100 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, one pass breakup, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 38 games as a Wolverine.

The Rhode Island native was a three-time All-Big Ten honoree (second team, media, 2020; second team, coaches, 2019; third team, media, 2019; honorable mention, media, 2018).

Paye’s story is an incredible one, with he and his mother having escaped a war-torn West Africa for Rhode Island when he was young. He has maintained that he will reach the NFL and help her out, after she worked multiple jobs to support him during his childhood.

“She’s done working,” Paye told ESPN after being drafted. “She’s retired.”