With the 63rd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs took Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr.. Chief’s general manager Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid had nothing but praise for their second round pick.
On Friday night, the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Willie Gay Jr. with the 63rd pick, the second to last pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The Mississippi State ILB is an athletic freak, standing at 6’1″, 243 pounds, with a 4.46 40 time, a 39.5 inch vertical, and an 11’4″ broad jump, but fell into the late second round due to a college suspension and some character concerns.
When asked about this pick, Chiefs’ general manager Brett Veach was quick to praise Gay and express how excited all of the staff were to bring him in:
“We had our eye on Willie when the day started. He was a guy that we circled,” said Veach. “Because he was suspended and there wasn’t a large volume of work this year on his tape, we didn’t know where the league would be but we were certainly high enough from the get-go, Coach Spags and Matt House really liked this guy, too… I mean, he ran faster then most of these secondary guys out there at 4.4, 245 pounds, 39 vert, 11’4″ broad.
“I think if this guy goes back to school and plays a full season and is healthy, you’re looking at a first round pick. The guy’s got tremendous upside. The guy can play sam, he can play mike or will. So I think he’ll have a chance to come in right away and get with our staff and bounce in there at mike, bounce in there at sam linebacker… Super talented guy and we were super fired up to get.”
When pressed about Willie Gay’s red flags and character concerns, Veach revealed how the conversations with Willie Gay’s past coaches and contacts went:
“… You have to do the homework, the one good thing about Willie Gay is, everybody you talk to and everything he did, everybody loved the guy… When you do the process, and you get to Willie Gay, and everybody that coached him loves the kid, you feel pretty good about where you are and we’re certainly excited to have him. I think he’s going to be a great highlight both on the field and in the locker room.”
Veach went on to talk about how Gay was one of the top linebackers on their board in the whole draft, not just the second round, and give Gay’s ability and play more praise. He also expressed interest in pairing Gay up with Tyrann Mathieu early to help teach him some of the technical aspects that he hasn’t quite picked up yet. Brett Veach also has some great insight into the shortened offseason/regular season that the league is dealing with, and is worth a watch. The full conference is available here.
Veach was not alone in expressing how the team felt about getting Willie Gay, as head coach Andy Reid would echo that sentiment in a short video:
“Willie was the linebacker we wanted and it’s kinda weird how it all worked out and we were able to get him. We were kinda holding our breath there in the end but I’m glad we got him.”