The 2021 Draft class wasn’t filled to the brim with elite pass rushing prospects. So, as soon as the Indianapolis Colts made up their mind about drafting one, the lack of marquee talent at the position made it all the more important for them to get good value with their pick.
When the dust settled, the Colts managed to get their hands on Kwity Paye, who was widely regarded as the top DE prospect throughout the pre-draft process and looks to be one of the steals of the first round given he fell to them at No. 21 overall.
Why the former Michigan star fell that far after some mocks projected him as a potential top-10 pick remains unclear. Like always, however, some teams opted to draft a prospect that filled a position of need over the “best player available strategy.”
Others, like the Jaguars, simply didn’t have Paye rated very highly. So much so, in fact, that Jacksonville gave him a 6.0 grade on the 8.0 scale, indicating that they viewed him as a potential boom-or-bust prospect compared to Jaelan Phillps, whom they gave a 7.5.
When you consider how long the Jaguars have been a laughingstock — aside from their unforeseen playoff run in 2017 — their questionable evaluation of Paye proves Indianapolis should feel even better about the pick.
The Jaguars’ grade for Kwity Paye should further validate the Colts’ decision to draft him.
For a team that wouldn’t know what an elite pass rush looked like if they were steamrolled by Lawrence Taylor, the Jaguars’ evaluation of Paye shouldn’t concern Colts fans. After all, this is a team that, despite a glaring need for an offensive lineman, edge rusher, safety and nose tackle, opted to draft a running back with their second first-round pick.
Keep in mind they struck gold with undrafted RB James Robinson last year and he went on to finish sixth in the NFL in rushing yards (1,070), which actually finished just 34 yards short of setting the single season record for an undrafted rookie.
But they just HAD to reunite Trevor Lawrence with college teammate Travis Etienne, right?
In other words, the Jaguars, who lucked into the No. 1 overall pick, haven’t the first clue what it takes to build a championship roster. Newly-minted head coach Urban Meyer has waxed poetic about building a formidable defensive line throughout his coaching career and he didn’t even draft a DL until the fourth round.
There’s no denying the Jaguars have some promising young pieces to build around. However, they’ve had some bad misses in the draft in recent years, including edge rusher Taven Bryan, offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, running back TJ Yeldon, and quarterback Blake Bortles.
That list extends further once you get beyond the first and second rounds, by the way.
And almost every successful draft pick they’ve made during that span (Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue, Dante Fowler and Leonard Fournette being the most noteworthy of the bunch) have either demanded trades or were in a hurry to leave in free agency when the time came.
So, no, we aren’t the least bit concerned with the Jaguars’ evaluation of Paye. We actually feel good about it.