#6 Willie Gay Jr
High School: Starkville (Starkville, MS)
Accolades: NFL Combine.
3 Cone: 7.08
20 Shtl: 4.30
Scouting Report: LB Willie Gay Jr, Mississippi State
Speed/Athleticism: Crazy athletic and fast by any standard, especially at his size. Willie Gay Jr is a difference-maker on the field from an athletic standpoint. He destroyed all of his combine drills and his tape is filled with great athletic plays, leading you to believe that there isn’t much that he can’t do on the field. 19/20.
Strength/Power: Gay shows very good strength and power for someone his size. Penetrates gaps with a good blend of speed and strength. The strong upper body allows him to be a vicious tackler and can make up for when his angle is a little off. 12/15.
Technique and Mechanics
Tackling/Pursuit: He’s a great tackler when he gets his hands on people. That’s just the problem. His reliability at pursuing the runner and getting the right angle is alarming. He will miss people too, putting his head down to deliver a kill-shot and straight-up miss. Regardless, once he learns how to pursue the play properly, he’s a fantastic sideline-to-sideline player with a very aggressive motor and high energy. 13/20.
Coverage Ability: Gay shows good coverage ability as a zone coverage linebacker. A disciplined and trusted player on that back end. He does well with getting depth. Has the athleticism to cover down the field, just not the size to match up well with tight ends vertically. Intercepted 3 passed in his career (both in his final two seasons). Does well turning to get upfield. 16/20.
Pass Rush Ability: Gay isn’t ever going to be a great off-ball linebacker, but he’s got the quickness and the power to be effective as a blitzer. Recorded 5 sacks as a sophomore. Savvy and smart while on gap assignments and explodes through openings. He does well to get off of blocks with pure intensity, something that may not necessarily translate to the next level. 6/10.
Football IQ/Instincts: Gay appears to be a very smart and savvy player. Shoots gaps well, although sometimes his instincts will lead him astray. He doesn’t navigate through traffic very well. 6/10.
Leadership/Personality: Reportedly got into a fight with freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader and was suspended for a violation of team rules (academic fraud), limiting himself to five games last season. There are a lot of concerns with the way he will conduct himself off of the field. Big ego player. 1/5.
Injury Rating: (+2)
Ceiling Rating: (4)