Salt & Pepper On Pro Football Focus' Top 50 Big Board For The 2021 NFL Draft
Depending on where you look you might find offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield in the first round of the 2021 NFL mock drafts, but Pro Football Focus doesn't see it that way.
Instead, they have both of Michigan's defensive ends — Kwity Paye and Aidan Hutchinson — inside the top 40.
At 6-6, 268 pounds, Hutchinson definitely looks the part as a defensive end as he gets ready for his true junior season. Last year, he made 68 tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, six pass breakups, four quarterback hurries, and two forced fumbles. He seemed to make a splash play in just about every game and is poised for a monstrous campaign in 2020.
Pro Football Focus has Hutchinson at No. 37 on its big board and praises him for his efforts as a sophomore.
Hutchinson holds the crown of being the only defender to give Tristan Wirfs fits last season when he racked up seven pressures against Iowa. The rising junior's versatile body allows him to also kick inside and still produce.
We saw Hutchinson move inside last year whenever Don Brown would employ his NASCAR package allowing U-M to get several athletic, pass rusher types on the field at the same time. Hutchinson has two years of eligibility left, but 2020 could be his last in Ann Arbor if he makes his way into the first round mocks.
At 6-4, 277 pounds, Paye also looks like a stud in his uniform. He's a tiny bit sawed off compared to typical defensive ends but he can really run and is obviously jacked up. He came in at No. 1 on Bruce Feldman's Freaks list because of his ability to run at his weight and because of his background as a running back and track star.
Pro Football Focus lists him just two spots behind Hutchinson at No. 39 on the big board and sees him as a very efficient player.
The No. 1 freak on Bruce Feldman’s list, Paye is only scratching the surface of what he could become. With no polished pass-rushing moves to speak of, he still earned a 77.8 pass-rushing grade in 2019.
If Hutchinson and Paye have their best seasons as Wolverines in 2020, they could both creep into the first round. Coming in at No. 37 and 39 puts them in the early stages of the second round, so finishing as potential first-round picks is certainly in the realm of possibilities.