When the first round of the NFL Draft rolls around in April, the Arizona Cardinals will have a bevy of prospects to choose from. There are several positions that general manager Steve Keim could look to upgrade with the 16th-overall selection. When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell steps to the podium to announce the pick, it would not be surprising to hear the Cards go with a defensive end as their top choice.
One name that could surface for Arizona on April 29th is the University of Michigan’s Kwity Paye. The highly-coveted defensive lineman is a two-time Second-team All-Big Ten selection (2019-20). Paye would be quite an addition for an inconsistent Cardinals unit that desperately needs an influx of talent.
Paye’s most productive performance came back in ’19 during his junior campaign with the Wolverines. The 6’4, 272 pounder registered 50 tackles (12.5 for a loss) and 6.5 sacks in 12 appearances. In just four games last year, Paye was credited with 16 tackles and two sacks for the school.
At the moment, the Cards defensive line is mediocre at best. Free agent Jordan Phillips flocked to the desert in 2020, signing a three-year, $30 million deal with the club. The veteran’s initial campaign was unimpressive, as an injured hamstring limited the 28-year old to just 11 tackles and two sacks in his nine appearances for Arizona.
Other members of the Cardinals defensive line includes a variety of youngsters. Zach Allen, a third-round pick in ’19, did show promise during his sophomore season with the squad. A pair of rookie defensive tackles, Leki Fotu and Rashard Lawrence, acquitted themselves well when pressed into action last fall.
There’s no guarantee that Paye will be there when the Cards get to select in the draft’s opening round, but it would certainly be tempting to pluck him off of the board if he is. The 22-year old is a talented defender who could excel at the professional level for years to come. A fair number of the team’s fans would be more than satisfied if Paye winds up in an Arizona uniform.