Colts: Todd McShay’s latest mock draft has Indy addressing pass rush

Michigan DE Kwity Paye (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Michigan DE Kwity Paye (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

At this point in free agency, Indianapolis Colts fans should understand that the front office is preserving their ample cap space to hand out big-money extensions to homegrown stars.

At the same time, however, fans have every right to question what those eventual extensions have to do with the Colts’ leftover cap space.

After all, they still have some $30 million at their disposal, and any extension wouldn’t come into play until next season at the absolute earliest.

As things stand, Indy still has a glaring need for a pass rusher. Though reports have linked them with a potential reunion with Justin Houston, they could opt for the cheap route and decide to address the hole in this month’s draft, which is just three weeks away.

Ironically enough, ESPN draft expert Todd McShay has the Colts doing just that by nabbing Michigan star Kwity Paye at No. 21 overall in his latest mock.

When you consider that Paye is arguably the most talented edge rusher in this year’s class, this would be a dream scenario.

ESPN draft expert Todd McShay has the Colts addressing their pass rushing issue in his latest mock.

McShay cited the need to replace the production lost when Denico Autry left for the Tennessee Titans since DeForest Buckner is currently the only player on the roster who had at least five sacks last year. He likes Paye’s speed and explosiveness off the edge, and who wouldn’t?

Given his raw physical talent and untapped potential, we can totally get on board with Indy pouncing on Paye in the first round. His senior year was cut short due to a groin injury and cancellations stemming from COVID-19, but he still put together a fine career in Ann Arbor.

Over his final three seasons (26 games), Paye produced 93 tackles, 23.5 of which went for a loss, and 10.5 sacks. Despite appearing in just four games, the former Wolverine boasted the best pass rush win percentage (25.8%) in the Big Ten last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

The 6-foot-4, 272-pound edge rusher graded out exceptionally well at Michigan’s pro day, which included a 4.53 40-yard dash and ridiculous 6.38 three-cone time, which is actually faster than the times posted by the likes of Julio Jones, Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Tyreek Hill.

Given that Paye shouldn’t be heavily relied upon right out of the gate, we’d still like to see Indy target another pass rusher in free agency. However, that doesn’t change that fact that landing the former Wolverine in the back half of the first round would be an absolute steal based on where some analysts have him ranked on their big boards.

On a side note, we totally disagree with McShay’s alternative plan for the Colts. A left tackle must come first in the priority pecking order over a defensive back or “reaching a little bit” for a wide receiver. The rest of his analysis, including the Paye pick, however, was right on the money.