Liberian-born Kwity Paye Breaks 82-years Rhode Island NFL Draft Record


Liberian-born American, Kwity Paye became the first Rhode Islander in 82 years taken in the first round of the National Football League (NFL) Draft on Thursday night when he was selected at No. 21 by the Indianapolis Colts.

Paye, 22 was one of 32 new players welcomed by the National Football League into its ranks Thursday night when the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft took place in Cleveland.

This means the young Liberian-American is expected to earn a huge contract valued at $13.66 million. He is also expected get a signing bonus of $7.3 million.

Paye was born in a refuse camp in Guinea after his family fled the Liberian civil war before immigrating to the United States where they settled in Providence.

He was a star at Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick before committing to play college football at Michigan, where the edge rusher had 97 tackles, 11.5 sacks and one forced fumble over his four years. At Michigan, the 6-foot-2-inch, 261-pound Paye twice earned all-Big Ten honors.

His mother Agnes Paye worked hard to help pay Kwity’s way through Hendricken and he promised her that he would get a scholarship to college and she wouldn’t have to work again.

In speaking with ABC moments after being selected, Paye – standing with arm around his mother, Agnes – said he wanted to give a “huge thank you for all the sacrifices she’s made for me for all those years.”