Numbers Don't Lie: Kwity Paye Is An Elite Pass Rusher

Kwity Paye proved over the last two years that he can get to the quarterback at a very high rate.
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As new Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald installs a defense for the first time, he'll have to do so without Kwity Paye, who was a massive part of Michigan's pass rush over the last two seasons. Paye was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the 21st overall pick last weekend and he should be able to make an impact right away based on what he did in college. Per CFB Film Room, Paye was the fifth-best pass rusher in the country when quarterbacks took a three- or five-step drop.

Paye was able to put pressure on the quarterback almost 19% of the time when the drop was at least three steps. Those numbers indicate that Paye has what it takes to be very successful in the NFL because longer, more traditional drops are more prominent in the league. With more opportunities to get after the QB, he should have even more chances to showcase his skills. 

Paye is not only valuable as a pass rusher, he's extremely solid against the run and against zone read concepts. Zone reads and option plays obviously aren't as prevalent in the NFL, but Paye is very equipped to make plays when they are deployed. 

“Kwity might be, technically, the best football player in the country,” former Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown once said . “Talking about defending the spread-run – the quarterback runs, the pulls; all the stuff that we see in college football. He’s the best spread-run defender I’ve ever seen. Now, why do I say that? Because you can’t fool him. Zone-read — close out the zone, chase the quarterback from the inside out – checkmark. Bluff — now that puller comes back, and instead of trying to kick you out, he bypasses you. Brakes go on, chase the quarterback from the inside out — checkmark. He can do all those things. It’s uncanny.

"I’m just saying, that guy, he’s hard to fool. No concerns about him."

Per, the brass in Indy definitely agrees with Brown. They were ecstatic that Paye fell to them at No. 21 and think he's got the potential to be great for a long time.

The Colts had Paye as one of the top prospects in this entire draft class. His skill set, upside, athleticism and character all met the team’s requirement at an elite level.

The Colts were able to address their biggest need while doing so without having to reach. In fact, most would agree that this was a value for them at No. 21. Not many in the Colts’ building truly believed Paye would be there.

But he was, and the Colts couldn’t make the selection soon enough. They have Dave Gettleman of the New York Giants, among others, to thank for that.

Paye finds himself in a great situation. The Colts should be better on offense with Carson Wentz now running the show, and the defense was already one of the more balanced units in the league last year coming in at No. 10 in points allowed, giving up just 22.6 points per game. The Colts were also No. 12 in the league in sacks with 40. Paye should be able to step right in, pressure the quarterback, hold it down against all types of runs and improve the culture in the locker room. 

Fans in Indy should love him, just like fans in Ann Arbor did.