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Chiefs take Willie Gay with 63rd overall pick in 2020 NFL draft

Willie Gay
Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics.

The Kansas City Chiefs addressed their linebackers with their second round pick in the 2020 NFL draft by taking Willie Gay from Mississippi State.

Gay missed eight games in his final season at Mississippi State due to a violation of team rules, and allegedly got in a fight with Bulldogs quarterback Garrett Shrader. He was ranked 109th on the 580 Sports Talk composite big board, and in Brendan Dzwierzynski’s Day 2 mock draft he was taken by the Chiefs in the third round.

In his five games as a junior, Gay recorded 28 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. He also returned an interception for a touchdown in a win over Kentucky on Sept. 21. Takeaways are a major part of Gay’s game; in seven of his last nine games he recorded either an interception, a forced fumble or a fumble recovery.

Gay addressed his shortened 2019 season, saying that he was able to show everything he needed to show in just five games.

“I make it work even with five games, I don’t need 10-15 games to make plays,” Gay said. “Of course I would have liked to play my whole season, but I made it work with what I had and made the best out of it.”

His ability in coverage is also a standout trait. In his sophomore season in 2018, Pro Football Focus gave him a 90.6 grade in coverage, one of the best marks in the SEC. One of the biggest games of his career came that same season against Alabama, when he picked up nine tackles, two sacks and an interception.

Gay was asked after he was drafted about what he brings to the Chiefs immediately, and he discussed the mindset he’s bringing to the NFL.

“One thing I prided myself on was no matter if I played five games or 15, I was going to be the same player, same guy, same person every chance I got,” Gay said.

This is the first linebacker Kansas City has drafted since taking Dorian O’Daniel out of Clemson in the third round of the 2018 draft.

The Chiefs have several linebackers to replace following last season. Reggie Ragland left to sign with the Detroit Lions, and Darron Lee is a free agent.

Some of the immediate reaction to the Chiefs’ selection focused on Gay’s athleticism, as well as his off-field issues.

Kansas City has now taken one player on each side of the ball so far after selecting LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round on Thursday. The Chiefs’ next pick is No. 96 near the end of the third round.

Click here to listen to Willie Gay’s introductory media session


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