NFL Draft payday await ‘Big Play’ Willie Gay

NFL Draft News
Willie Gay Jr.

These are some of the facts NFL personnel have on Mississippi State linebacker “Big Play” Willie Gay Jr.

  • He measured 6-foot-1, 243 pounds at the Combine, with 10-1/2 inch hands and 32-5/8 inch arms – good-if-not-great measurements for a traditional 4-3 linebacker.
  • He ran a 4.46 40-yard dash, second-fastest among LBs at the Combine. His 39.5-inch vertical was also second-best, and his 11-foot, 4-inch broad jump was the best for his position.
  • He is an elite athlete, as his 40 time, (97th percentile), vertical (93rd), and broad jump (99th) puts him in rare company among all off-ball linebackers since 1999, according to MockDraftable.
  • Gay’s entry into the draft as a junior follows a season in which he was suspended eight games for a violation of team rules.

Will his Combine performance trump any off-field concerns?

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise to see Gay’s name show up relatively high now in various mock drafts, given his incredible performance last week. But scouts have been well aware of him before the Combine. He racked up 99 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 6 sacks from 2017-2019, including the five games he played this past season.

And he seemed primed for a big junior year after picking up 48 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 5 sacks and 2 interceptions as a sophomore in only six starts. He also picked off a pass this year, returning it 52 yards for a touchdown.