ESPN's Todd McShay high on draft prospects for UM's Kwity Paye, Nico Collins

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Todd McShay, an ESPN NFL Draft analyst, sees former Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye having a better career in the pros than he did in college and projects him a solid first-round selection.

Paye, who recently was hand-timed at 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash during Michigan’s Pro Day, is No. 21 in McShay’s latest mock draft, going to the Indianapolis Colts. McShay, during an ESPN conference call Monday, also thinks highly of former Michigan receiver Nico Collins, who opted out last season, and sees him as a potential second-round NFL Draft selection.

The 6-foot-2, 261-pound Paye is Michigan’s only draft-eligible prospect projected by most analysts in the first round of the upcoming draft.

Kwity Paye appeared in 38 games with 20 starts during his Michigan career.

“He’s either going to be the first or second edge rusher off the board,” McShay said.

Paye missed two of Michigan’s six games last season because of injury, but he finished the season with 12 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks. He was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2019.

“The first thing that jumped out to me when studying him was how sudden he is, that first-step quickness that he has,” McShay said. “You’ve gotta get this guy up the field. And the second thing that jumps out after the suddenness is his motor.

“There’s no Michigan player that played harder than Kwity Paye. He’s always chasing plays down from behind. He’s always giving max effort, and I love that about him.”

More: Defensive back Hunter Reynolds becomes latest Wolverine to enter transfer portal

McShay questioned whether Paye was “used properly” in Michigan’s defense that had been coordinated by Don Brown. Mike Macdonald was hired earlier this year from the Baltimore Ravens as the Wolverines’ new defensive coordinator.

“I think he’s going to be a better pro than a college player,” McShay said. “His production was solid — it wasn’t elite — but developed properly and in the right system and turned up field all the time, he’s gotta chance to be a really good pro. I’m excited to see what he does at the next level.”

Michigan wide receiver Nico Collins caught 37 passes for 729 yards and a team-leading seven touchdowns in 2019.

Collins, the 6-4, 215-pound receiver, had planned to play for Michigan last fall, but  opted out after the Big Ten announced it was postponing the season. McShay said he has always been a fan of the big-body receiver.

At Michigan’s Pro Day, Collins ran a 4.43 in the 40.

“I did a couple Michigan games two years ago as sideline analyst and, again, he didn’t have great quarterback play and he wasn’t always utilized properly, but he can get down the field and accelerate so quickly for a receiver with his size,” McShay said. “He’s big, and he’s fast. He’s not a great route runner in terms of getting in and out of breaks, but as a vertical route runner, he’s a guy who can stretch the field and put a lot of pressure on defenses.”

McShay said some NFL teams have told him they see Collins as a Day 3 pick.

“I think he belongs somewhere in that third-round range, maybe second, because you just don’t many guys that are 6-4, over 200 pounds and can run in the low 4.4s,” McShay said. “And he accelerates quickly. That’s the difference between him and some of the other bigger receivers in this class. He gets to top speed in a hurry, and he tracks the ball vertically very well. He sees it, he knows when to turn his head, and he can adjust to it because he has really good body control.”

Twitter: @chengelis