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Daniel Jeremiah Projects the Colts to Select Michigan Edge Kwity Paye in his 2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 29 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Florida v Michigan Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

According to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, the Indianapolis Colts will select Michigan pass rusher Kwity Paye with the 21st overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft in his debut 2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.0:

Pick 21

Indianapolis Colts

Kwity Paye · Edge rusher

School: Michigan | Year: Senior

The Colts need to address the quarterback spot after Philip Rivers’ retirement. I could see them trading for Sam Darnold or Carson Wentz. I also wouldn’t rule out a trade-up scenario for one of the top four QBs in this draft class. If they stick and pick, I like Paye’s upside as an edge rusher. He’s raw, but the talent is there.

The 6’4”, 272 pound senior Wolverines edge recorded 16 tackles (12 solo), 4.0 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks during 4 games—as an Academic All-Big Ten honoree during 2020.

Here’s what they’re saying on Paye:

Of course, while starting quarterback and left tackle are arguably greater needs—with bigger holes (depending on if the Colts can re-sign Justin Houston or add another impact edge), Indianapolis no doubt needs a long-term answer at defensive end too.

And Paye could be the best prospect available at the #21 spot.

As mentioned, Houston is a free agent and 32 years old regardless, while 3rd-year pass rusher Kemoko Turay has been limited with a serious ankle injury—and despite flashes, has been inconsistent, still trying to get back to 100% and work off the rust.

Meanwhile, 2019 2nd round pick, 2nd-year pass rusher Ben Banogu, was a healthy scratch down the stretch and needs to make a big leap during his 3rd-season—with considerable improvement.

For what it’s worth, the Colts ranked 12th (tied) in most sacks with 40.0 sacks this past season. Per ESPN analytics, Indianapolis had the 15th highest pass rush win rate at 42%.

Paye is a top pass rushing prospect to watch for Indianapolis.