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Preseason Scouting Notes: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

Senior | 6’4″ | 277 lbs | Providence, RI

 

A calculated and versatile edge defender, who flashes impressive coverage skills and lateral movement

 

Overview:

Kwity Paye is a versatile edge rusher for the Wolverines. Occasionally dropping in coverage, setting the edge, and speeding around tackles, his skill set is varied and essential to Don Brown’s defense in Ann Arbor. He plays staggeringly passive, and he is rarely going to make game breaking mistakes. Consequently, he doesn’t disrupt the offense like many top edge defenders. Instead, he plays laterally along the line of scrimmage and consistently makes his plays there. He lacks impressive power, but could show more of it in 2020. Returning for his senior season, he hopes to prove his ability as an edge setter for the modern NFL.

Strengths:

– Aware of QB when rushing the passer
– Can drop back into coverage when needed
– Stellar lateral movement in run defense
– Sets edge relatively well
– Great at defending zone reads and mobile quarterbacks
– Experience in multiple roles in Michigan’s defense
– Strong and quick inside pass rush moves
– Rarely makes egregious mistakes due to passiveness

Areas to improve:

– Could develop more power in his pass rush and run defense
– Much too often Paye gets locked up with the lineman blocking him and fails to disengage
– Can struggle from the inside as a result of his lack of aggression
– Not very disruptive in the backfield, lack of penetration
– Lackluster bull rush. Lacking considerable power
– Poor goal line defender

Injury History:

Hamstring injury in 2019 (missed one game)

Projection:

Paye’s lack of aggression means that he won’t quite fit into every defensive system. Contrarily, his versatility will be highly valued by many coaches (such as those in the Belichick tree) as he can defend the run, get to the quarterback, and drop into coverage. His lack of aggression means that he is not going to put up incredibly high sack or tackle numbers though. That said, in the right fit Paye can be incredibly effective as a strong role-player. Expect him to be taken on Day 3, in the 4th to 6th round range of the 2021 NFL draft.

What to watch for in 2020:

Paye needs to get more powerful in his play. His largest deficiencies are when he simply gets bulldozed off the line of scrimmage while he’s too busy looking for the ball. This is admittedly not a frequent enough problem to warrant major concern, but it certainly stood out a few times on tape. Developing more aggression into his game would be instrumental in improving his play, and his NFL capability. Look for Paye to develop stronger and quicker pass rush moves as well, solidifying his role as an every down edge player.