Indianapolis Colts select falling pass rusher and stick at No. 21

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

The Indianapolis Colts entered the 2021 NFL Draft with a need on the offensive line and a GM with a penchant for trading out of his first selection.

Unsurprisingly, when No. 21 came around, Chris Ballard took advantage of a tumultuous first round and stayed put.

After all, when you’re the ’21 Colts, you don’t need to worry about the same kind of things fringe contenders have to deal with.

Quarterback? We’ll let the Patriots reach for Mac Jones, thanks. We’ve got our guy. Game-changing LB? We’ve got our own, and he used to be the “worst pick in the draft”. That turned out alright.

With plenty of options ahead of them at an advantageous position for filling multiple needs, the Colts were able to secure Michigan pass rusher Kwity Paye, who was rumored to be going far higher, though his athleticism and upside at No. 21 feels … correct.

We’re on board — but it’s a Chris Ballard pick, so we could’ve written that days ago.

The Indianapolis Colts selected Kwity Paye at No. 21 in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Show of hands, who thought Ballard would trade down? You’re not alone.

Color us surprised the team didn’t take Christian Darrisaw either, the slipping Virginia Tech offensive tackle who could’ve been massaged and finessed into Anthony Castonzo’s hole on the line.

Clearly, as we’ve theorized in the past, Ballard has assessed some mid-second-round OL targets at the same level as those who were available to him late in the first here. He believes he’s locked onto someone who’ll be available much later. We hope he’s right.

In exchange for staying put, the Colts have been rewarded with Paye, born in a Guinean refugee camp before escaping to America and learning the game of football to the point he dominated in the Big Ten.

Indianapolis is getting a pro-ready rusher who’s fought every day of his life for that beloved extra inch. We’re glad we get to be the place his story will write its next chapter.