Raiders select Michigan DE Kwity Paye in latest PFF mock draft

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Marcus Mosher
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If the Raiders want to take the next step as a team, they have to improve their defense. The easiest way to accomplish that is to rebuild the defensive line. While Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell are a nice start, they need to continue to replenish the unit with talent.

One player that could help the defensive line dramatically is Michigan edge rusher Kwity Paye. Standing at 6’4, 272 pounds, Paye was the No. 1 player on Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks List” in 2020 after running a 6.37 3-cone. While he doesn’t quite have the sack production you would want in a first-round edge rusher, the tools are all there.

In a recent mock draft at Pro Football Focus, Paye was the pick for the Raiders at No. 17. Here are Anthony Treash’s thoughts on the potential pairing below:

“The Raiders rank dead last in the NFL in team pass-rush grade by a considerable margin since they traded away Khalil Mack before the start of the 2018 season. Depending on what they do in free agency (i.e., improving or ignoring the secondary), using the 17th overall pick to get them out of the lack-of-pressure rut isn’t a bad idea.

Paye only played in four games this past season, but he was still able to rack up 22 pressures to go with an 87.1 pass-rush grade. He is an athletic freak and showed signs of improvement from a technical standpoint in 2020.”

Paye would be an interesting developmental project for defensive line coach Rod Marinelli as he clearly has the speed, quickness and agility to become a star in the NFL. As a rookie, he could rotate in with Crosby, Ferrell and Arden Key with the hope being that he would win the job by 2021.

Of all the first-round edge rushers, Paye might just have the highest ceiling given how “freaky” of an athlete he has proven to be. He’s likely to be on the team’s shortlist of players to consider at pick No. 17.