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Saints 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Analysis: Kwity Paye

Sep 28, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Kwity Paye (19) and defensive back Josh Metellus (14) react after a play during the first quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Kwity Paye (19) and defensive back Josh Metellus (14) react after a play during the first quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New Orleans Saints felt their departures hard on the defensive end. Trey Hendrickson is gone after almost leading the league in sacks, and star tackle Sheldon Rankins is also not returning to New Orleans. Here is how the Saints should replace both in one pick.

Kwity Paye is a senior coming out of the University of Michigan. In four years at Michigan, Paye played in 28 games (22 of them coming in his sophomore and junior year).

Paye finished his collegiate career with 97 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. In his best singular season, he totaled 50 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, and 6.5 sacks. That gives a clear representation of the skill level of Paye.

For the Saints to fill the gap left by Hendrickson and Rankins, they need to draft edge rusher Kwity Paye from the University of Michigan if he falls.

Currently, Paye is a mid to late-first-round draft pick. He is being mocked anywhere from No. 18 to the Miami Dolphins to No. 30 to the Buffalo Bills and everywhere in between. Luckily, the Saints fall in-between those two numbers at No. 28.

Paye is a versatile defensive lineman that can play the interior where Sheldon Rankins thrived or on the edge-rushing where Trey Hendrickson left a void. A player of this versatility on the defense can not be easily overlooked.

Paye is immediate starter material too. I would probably put him alongside David Onyemata in the line as the Saints already have Marcus Davenport and Cameron Jordan on the outside.

They did something similar with a versatile offensive lineman last year. They drafted Cesar Ruiz and then took and put him where they needed him because he could virtually play the whole line.

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Kwity Paye would likely have to fall a little bit for him to be available at the No. 28 pick. However, according to CBS Spots prospect analysis, Paye is the No. 1 ranked defensive end and the No. 12 overall ranked prospect. Hopefully, he falls to No. 28.

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