The Las Vegas Raiders are projected to go with Michigan’s Kwity Paye in Pro Football Focus’ latest mock, but should they?
It’s not breaking news that the Silver and Black need to upgrade their defense. Their front four seemingly regressed under Rod Marinelli in 2020. At least on paper, it did, as their defensive linemen produced 15 out of their 21 sacks. For a unit that featured promising players such as Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell, this was disappointing. Injecting Paye’s talent could help but the team’s already quite loaded at the EDGE position actually.
The now-fired Paul Guenther definitely shares a lot of the blame for 2020. Injuries and COVID-19 also decimated the defense with many key players missing games. With Gus Bradley now in charge of the defense, it’s not clear how the defensive roster will look like by April’s NFL draft. Takkarist McKinley and Vic Beasley might figure into next year’s plans and Arden Key’s status is uncertain.
Related: How Can DC Gus Bradley Realistically Turn Raiders Defense Around?
What could Paye bring to the Raiders?
By ‘loaded’, we mean the Raiders have a crowded defensive line at the moment, even if their production doesn’t warrant ‘elite’ status. If the Raiders’ brass and Bradley decide it’s best to scratch some of the aforementioned names, Paye would make sense.
However, Las Vegas needs to address their horrid pass defense early, a safety or corner in the first round would be wiser. Paye can lineup at linebacker but his pass defense isn’t his strength, and his PFF 58.3 coverage grade supports that claim. As far as for his pass rush, that’s a different story. His 2019 season at Michigan saw him accumulate 12.5 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. The 2019 season’s a better gauge as he only played four games this past season.
For now, we’ll have to wait and see what the Raiders do with their current players. No one’s doubting Paye’s potential, rather, it might not be the best route if said Raiders veterans return.
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3 thoughts on “Should Raiders Really Go With Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye?”
Let’s remember that the current brass of the Raiders like players from established, “winning” college programs. Michigan fell below that category.
Although the Raiders need more talent on defense, adding a proven veteran to not only have past production but also able to add leadership to this young defensive unit is also a must. To many games those young players lost their composure at the end of games. These young defensive players don’t know how to close out games which basically killed any playoff hopes.
I’m less concerned about the “winning” program than whether the production warrants the pick. I get that he’s regarded as a “freak” athletically, but his production with that athleticism was just so-so. Unfortunately, it reminds me of Ruggs. The Raiders need to understand why he didn’t produce more, and whether this can be addressed. But my gut tells me the Raiders should look for more complete players with both measurables and production in the middle of the first. Maybe a trade-down would be warranted here.
Also maybe edge isn’t the priority at this pick. The Raider’s defense was so bad that just about any position on that side of the ball would be a higher priority given the paucity of talent. Ferrell graded out pretty well in PFF, and between Beasley, Crosby, Takk, and Nassib if he is still here, the Raiders can see if they have anything else in that position. I wouldn’t mind an athletic LB or a non-knucklehead safety in that slot.