The Indianapolis Colts selected edge rusher Kwity Paye with their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Paye wasn’t considered a player who would have an instant impact, but once he got healthy, he recorded four sacks over the last eight games of the season.
His performance to close his rookie season was enough to get the attention of Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) Mike Renner who included Paye in his breakout players column for ESPN.
Renner ranked Paye as the No. 6 second-year player who could break out in 2022.
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“To understand why Paye was included on this list,” wrote Renner on ESPN, “let’s start with an excerpt from his profile in the 2021 PFF Draft Guide: ‘His pass-rushing toolbox is still fairly barren, but even so, we’ve seen it improve by leaps and bounds over the past two seasons. If that progression continues, look out.'”
“Paye was by pretty much every draft analyst’s estimate a project. The kind of player who is not supposed to make an early impact in the NFL until he gains pass-rushing experience at that level.”
“Well, that ‘project’ just so happened to lead all rookie edge defenders with a 71.3 pass-rushing grade. And he did it all while playing three-quarters of his snaps lined up over left tackles — the more difficult side to rush the passer from in the NFL, given the talent disparity between left and right tackles. With his size and skill, it seems like only a matter of time before Paye is in the Pro Bowl conversation.”
Add Paye as a breakout candidate in 2022, and it’s easy to understand why most analysts are picking the Indianapolis Colts as a team that should be headed to the playoffs.