Willie Gay Jr. earns comparisons to Derrick Johnson and Deion Jones on film

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 29: Linebacker Willie Gay Jr. of Mississippi State runs the 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 29, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

As expected, the Chiefs drafted defense in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Surprisingly, they opted for Willie Gay Jr. Here is what to expect from the rookie linebacker.

While many were hoping that the Kansas City Chiefs would take a defensive player in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft,, there is reason to believe that general manager Brett Veach got great value in the second round by waiting and selecting Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr.

Due to some character concerns, Gay was considered a wild card. Even with serious potential, it was not clear where he would be taken. His playing style is a little unorthodox but he is very effective in every facet of his game, especially in pass coverage.

Let’s take a look at the tape.


Closing speed similar to former franchise great, Derrick Johnson:

To me, this is a very similar look for Chiefs fans. Derrick Johnson was an exceptional player, and it is too early to tell what kind of career Willie Gay Jr. will have. That being said, Gay has very good closing speed that reminds me a lot of DJ. Gay is not necessarily a great tackler at this point but flashes the ability to make plays in the open field with great instincts.

On this play, Gay trusts his instincts and does not second-guess himself. The offense lines up and begins to run a misdirection-type option play and Gay uses very good downhill speed after slipping in front of the blocker and blows the entire play up. This should look familiar to Kansas City fans. It looks very close to what Derrick Johnson did throughout his career with the Chiefs.

While Gay is not always this concise and will take unnecessary stutter steps, he can make ‘wow’ plays like this. This is what the Chiefs would like to see more of going forward near the line of scrimmage.

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse