Name: Kwity Paye
Weight: 277 lbs.
High school: Providence (RI) Bishop Hendricken
Position: Defensive end
Jersey number: #19
Last year: I ranked Paye #17 and said he would be the starting weakside end with 45 tackles and 5 sacks (LINK). He made 54 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery.
TTB Rating: 81
Michigan had a few breakout players on defense in 2019, and Paye might have been the biggest. He went from being a rotational player in 2018 to getting enough hype following last season to be bandied about as a potential 1st round draft pick. He also was named the #1 “freak” on Bruce Feldman’s annual “Freaks List.” This all came on the heels of a relatively modest 12.5-TFL, 6.5-sack season. His real coming out part seemed to take place against Iowa, when he made 4 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 2 quarterback hurries against a respected Hawkeyes offensive line.
This feels like a weird thing to say after all that hype, but here it is, anyway:
Kwity Paye makes me wonder about the effectiveness of Shaun Nua’s coaching.
Paye was a project coming out of high school in 2017, when he was a part-time running back in Rhode Island. So the fact that he has reached these heights is impressive in itself. But when you watched Paye in 2019, he didn’t really do anything special. He’s fairly quick. And he’s fairly strong. And he’s got a good motor. But when it comes to technique or defeating blocks? Nah. He doesn’t have any pass rush moves. He just kind of keeps going and going until he’s in the lap of the quarterback.
If Paye is going to capitalize on the first round hype, I think he has to add some noticeable technique to his arsenal. If he doesn’t, I think that will be an indictment of Nua, who will have had two seasons with a pretty talented guy with nothing much to show for it. For some reason I don’t see Paye taking a giant step forward, but he should still be pretty good. And the fact is that behind starting ends Paye and Aidan Hutchinson, there isn’t much. The most proven guy is Luiji Vilain, who has suffered through injury but hasn’t shown much upside when he actually got on the field. Paye has the versatility to play inside and outside, and he would be a big loss if injured.
Will he be a first round pick in 2021? My gut says no, but he should have a solid season for the Wolverines.
Prediction: Starting weakside end
Hit the jump for some 2019 highlights.
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