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Entering the first round of the 2021 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts had their eyes on offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw as the likely selection at No. 21 overall. That was until edge rusher Kwity Paye was available.
According to the “One Percent Better” podcast with Zak Keefer and Stephen Holder of The Athletic, the Colts didn’t expect Paye to be available and were ready to take Darrisaw.
However, Paye fell to them at No. 21 and as much as they liked Darrisaw, the fit was too perfect with the former.
“So they thought he (Paye) might go as high as #10,” said Keefer on the podcast via Luke Schultheis of Stampede Blue. “Which is very telling, right? That’s how they had their board. Their board is not going to look like a lot of the mock drafts you see out there. I think a lot of NFL teams would probably agree with that.
“And basically, the decision was made before Thursday night rolled around for the first round of the draft. You know, they had (Christian) Darrisaw on the board, and it was Darrisaw, and they liked Darrisaw, but they loved Kwity Paye. And I think that’s what came through.”
Darrisaw would have been a logical choice for the Colts if Paye had gone before them. They needed to fill the gap at left tackle and if Paye and Jaelan Phillips were both off the board, it may have been a reach to go with an edge rusher solely based off of need.
That said, the Colts wound up signing Eric Fisher to a one-year deal shortly after the draft so the need was addressed, especially since they didn’t take an offensive lineman until the seventh round.
Paye was the right choice for the Colts given his upside and fit but it would have bene hard to blame them for taking Darrisaw if the Michigan edge rusher wasn’t available.