When the Indianapolis Colts and General Manager Chris Ballard landed Michigan star pass rusher Kwity Paye at No. 21 overall, the franchise seemed to have answered a massive question heading into the 2021 season.
Now, with Paye in the fold and looking strong in offseason team activities, Bleacher Report has high expectations for the freakishly athletic pass rusher in 2021, labeling Paye as the Colts' "most dangerous" new weapon for the 2021 season.
Bleacher Report analyst Kristopher Knox took a shot at tabbing one new weapon on all 32 teams, and quickly highlighted Paye for the Colts.
Here's what the analyst had to say about Paye:
Edge-rusher Justin Houston was responsible for eight of the Indianapolis Colts' 40 sacks in 2020. However, the Colts have yet to re-sign Houston. As of now, rookie first-round pick Kwity Paye looks to replace him as Indy's primary pass-rusher off the edge. While Paye isn't the proven NFL standout that Houston is, he could be just as disruptive as DeForest Buckner's edge complement.
"No edge defender in this draft class has the upside of Kwity Paye, who could walk into most NFL buildings right now and be the most athletic pass-rusher," Justis Mosqueda of the B/R Scouting Department wrote. While Paye only appeared in four games last season, he produced 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in 2019. At 6'2" and 261 pounds, he is a compact but explosive edge defender who will be a handful for offenses that are concerned with slowing Buckner up the middle.
There's no denying Paye's physical skills coming out of Michigan. Though the overall production isn't quite there, and paired with the development Paye needs to go through as a rookie to refine himself as a pass rusher, expectations remain high for the first rounder.
It's highly unlikely at this point that Ballard and the Colts come to an agreement with Houston, so the defensive end job is Paye's already. If he can hit the ground running in 2021 with the Colts and produce the way he did in four games at Michigan in 2020, the Colts' defense could take the next step one year after struggling to get a consistent pass off the edge.
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