The year is 1939. The ten-team National Football League (pre-AFL merger) was entering its twentieth season after the New York Giants defeated the Green Bay Packers in the National Championship Game. The Chicago Bears finished 6-5 in the western division, allowing them to pick sixth in the upcoming draft. They selected Providence Native, Central High standout, and Holy Cross All-American, Bill Osmanski. "Bullet Bill" led the league in rushing that year with 699 yards, and he was part of the backbone of the Bears great 1940's team, which ultimately won three championships.
Flashforward to 2021, and Bishop Hendricken star running back and defensive end eyes to be the next Rhode Island great. The Rhode Island Gatorade Football Player of the Year in 2016, Kwity Paye was a star on both sides of the field. He had numerous college offers, and eventually committed to Michigan University. The 2x All-Big Ten edge rusher is projected to go in the first round and is widely considered one of the best pass rushers in the draft. His junior year at Michigan was arguably his best, finishing the season with 50 tackles and 6.5 sacks.
According to Points Bet, Paye’s over/under draft position is 17.5. The over is at -125 and the under is at -105. The Eagles love Paye at No.12, for who he is receiving comparisons to former Philadelphia first-rounder, Brandon Graham. The Vikings are seeking to fill the hole of Danielle Hunter, the Titans would like to pair him with newly signed Bud Dupree, and both the Patriots and Giants have had their names penciled in around Paye. There is no doubt Paye has first-round talent written all over him. He is an explosive rusher, with quick hands and excellent flexibility.
His story is tremendous, as Paye has overcome great adversity in his young life. Not only would this be a monumental moment in his life, but this would be a major milestone for Rhode Island as a whole. Hopefully, Paye can take a page out of fellow Rhode Islander and Hendricken Alumni, Will Blackmon. Blackmon spent 10 years in the NFL, most notably as a member of the 2011 Super Bowl-winning New York Giants. We're rooting for you, Kwity!