Grading every Colts first round pick under Chris Ballard
2021 Draft: Kwity Paye at No. 21: B
Kwity Paye is the most recent first-round pick of the Chris Ballard era, and he’s still relatively early in his career, so his grade is subject to change. However, after his first two years in the league, a B seems fair for Paye. He hasn’t been elite, but he’s been productive and has shown a lot of promise.
As a rookie, Paye started 15 games for the Colts and had 32 tackles, four sacks, 10 quarterback hits, three tackles for a loss, and one forced fumble. Paye was ready for a bigger year two, unfortunately, an ankle injury limited him to just 12 games. In those games, Paye still improved his numbers, recording 45 tackles, six sacks, 10 quarterback hits, and 10 tackles for a loss.
He’ll now return for a third season and will be trying to take things up to another level. With Yannick Ngakoue now gone, Paye is expected to be Indy’s top pass rusher. However, the Colts did add Samson Ebukam in free agency to play on the other end of the defensive line. With DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart on the interior, Indy’s front should remain solid.
Overall, Chris Ballard has made some solid picks in the first round. The pick he will make in the 2023 Draft will be the most important selection of his time as a general manager. Not only will he be picking a quarterback, but barring a trade, it will be the highest he’s ever picked. Ballard has to make it count.
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