Tomorrow is the start of the 2021 NFL Draft. The New York Giants hold the eleventh overall pick in the first round of this year’s draft. The Giants are one of the first round’s biggest question marks. They could select any one from a list of prospects ranging from wide receiver to cornerback to edge rusher.
The Giants had a phenomenal free agency period where they fixed nearly every major weakness on their roster. New York went all-in on Kenny Golladay and Kyle Rudolph as Daniel Jones’s new weapons. They also signed Adoree’ Jackson as their starting boundary cornerback opposite James Bradberry.
But this does not mean that the Giants will not draft a receiver or a cornerback for that matter. Both are still viable options. However, the new rumor heating up in the mill is that the Giants will take an edge rusher, filling a need that they did not fully address in free agency. One particular edge rusher has been linked to the Giants a lot in recent days: Kwity Paye out of Michigan. Could he be the pick for New York at eleven? And what would he bring to the Giants’ defense?
Could Kwity Paye go to the Giants?
By most analysts’ standards, Kwity Paye at eleven would be a reach for the Giants. His projected draft stock lands him in the late teens or mid-twenties. However, Paye would fill a clear need for the Giants on defense.
The Giants are lacking a true every-down edge rusher on their roster. But is Kwity Paye that guy? Kwity Paye would instantly give the Giants a boost off the edge, especially as a run-defender. Paye is a polished edge prospect and the safest edge prospect in this class. He has no red flags medically or with any character concerns. If the Giants want to make a safe pick and address the edge rusher position, Paye is the pick.
However, Kwity Paye is unlikely to be the best player on the board. There is a strong chance that an elite prospect like Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith, Micah Parsons, or Rashawn Slater will be on the board for the Giants due to the run on quarterbacks expected to go in the top ten. Taking Kwity Paye over any of those elite guys would be a hard sell to the fanbase.
Paye at eleven would be a reach, though he is a viable trade-down target. Additionally, if he is the pick at eleven, that selection will be scrutinized and put under a microscope, but Kwity Paye is still a very talented edge rusher. Paye is the top-ranked EDGE in this class according to Pro Football Focus. He had a 26% pass-rush win rate in 2020 while also being a tremendous run-defender (PFF).
In his final two collegiate seasons, Kwity Paye racked up 8.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss through 16 games. Paye was mainly a 5-tech in college, but he has experience playing outside linebacker, rushing out of a two-point stance as well. He might not be the fan-favorite pick, but Kwity Paye is one of the best defenders in this year’s class and he would be a big upgrade on the New York Giants defense.