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Is Kwity Paye the EDGE pass rusher to alter the Steelers’ draft plans?

For teams who are looking for an EDGE pass rusher in the 2021 NFL Draft, Kwity Paye might be a prospect to keep an eye on.

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

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of many NFL organizations who could be looking at a pass rusher in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. However, unlike the other franchises who are looking to add to their current EDGE depth chart, the Steelers possess the 24th overall pick.

Not really conducive to getting a top tier prospect, but are there some prospects who are too good to pass up? There are a lot of talented players who could be available to the Steelers at in the mid-to-later rounds, and Kwity Paye certainly is a tough player to peg in regards to where he is expected to be taken in the upcoming draft.

There is the chance the Steelers choose to take a pass rusher to bolster their depth in 2021, and if Michigan’s Paye is available when the Steelers pick, is he an option?

I did some digging on Paye, and put together a brief synopsis of the kind of player he is, and will be when becoming a professional. Below you’ll see draft profile breakdowns, film room breakdowns and game film for you to enjoy.

Don’t listen to me, or anyone else, form your own opinion on Paye. I plan on doing this for other prospects as the draft approaches. If there is a specific player you’d like to see covered, simply let me know and I’ll be glad to put it together!

Let us know your thoughts on Paye in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.

Draft Profiles

The Draft Network

Kwity Paye is an exciting prospect whose potential and physical ability is only now beginning to be realized on the gridiron. There’s an extremely high ceiling in Paye’s game thanks to his athletic abilities; if his NFL team is able to continue to draw fundamental improvements out of him to allow him to continue to simply react to discard or defeat blocks, he’ll be in line for plenty of explosive plays in opposing backfields. The steps Paye made in 2020 during the abbreviated season should only further fuel optimism that his development is still on an upward trajectory. Paye has won in the past most sufficiently from tight alignments and utilized his powerful hands and functional strength to diminish angles and find creases to press through and rally to the football. I do feel he’s a bit more of a linear athlete and his ability to collapse tackle sets with speed to power is going to shine more frequently than his reps when looking to crash off the edge and win with finesse. Paye has been forged by fire through a challenging upbringing as an immigrant and finds his “why” in taking care of his family — he’s internally driven and appears to be the kind of individual you want in your building to buy into the process. He’s a home run from an intangibles, effort and tools perspective but his scheme fit is an important accommodation to make for optimal success.

Ideal Role: Starting defensive end (hand in dirt)

Scheme Fit: Even front, single gap defense

Pro Football Network

  • Position: EDGE
  • School: Michigan
  • Year: Senior
  • Height: 6’2 2/4″
  • Weight: 261 pounds
  • Position: EDGE

Positives: Hard-working, relatively athletic defensive end who leads by example. Displays great explosion in his game, fires off the snap, and plays with excellent pad level, getting leverage on opponents. Effectively uses his hands to protect himself, bends off the edge, and displays good change-of-direction skills.

Splits double-team blocks and is rarely off his feet. Immediately alters his angle of attack, plays with excellent balance, and has a closing burst. Fluid if asked to twist or stunt. Strong for his size and knocks back bigger offensive tackles with a violent hand punch.

Negatives: Lacks great bulk and struggles facing off against big, athletic tackles. He may be a liability against the run at the next level.

Analysis: Paye was a terrific football player for Michigan and is an outstanding story off the field. He’s athletic with speed as well as solid playing strength, and Paye comes with a large upside. I envision him being used at defensive end in a four-man line as well as occasionally standing up over tackle to rush the passer. Paye will only improve as he physically matures and adds bulk to his frame.

Walter Football


  • Fast pass rusher
  • Burst off ball
  • Dangerous speed to run the arc and get around the corner
  • Speed-to-power rush ability
  • Can fire to the inside
  • Dangerous speed rusher at tackle in the sub package
  • Can dip underneath tackles
  • Loose hips
  • Nice ability to redirect
  • Will make a second effort
  • Agile; not stiff
  • Serious closing speed; rare for an end of his size
  • Has a burst to close on the quarterback
  • Functional strength, length
  • Ability to use hands and feet at same time
  • Good hand chop
  • Quality motor
  • Can fit a 4-3 or a 3-4
  • Athletic upside


  • Somewhat raw
  • Not as productive as his skill set suggests he should be
  • Could use refinement of pass rushing moves
  • Not a lot of experience, only 19 starts in college
  • Bites on misdirection too often
  • Gets covered up some in the ground game

Player Comparison: Justin Tuck. Paye’s size, speed, and ability to rush from the inside in the sub package remind me of Tuck when he was in his prime years with the Giants.


Game Film

Other Breakdowns






Interior OLine