Chiefs Address Defensive Need With Mississippi State LB at No. 63

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Willie Gay 63rd overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

Following up on their No. 32 selection in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, with the 63rd overall pick, the Kansas City Chiefs picked Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr in the second round on Friday.

By now, it’s likely Kansas City fans understands the franchise’s brand. In true fashion, the reigning Super Bowl champions are taking chance on a wildly athletic rising star who they feel like they can coach up. It has worked in the past, so looks like general manager Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid are testing their luck once again.

The 22-year-old is already getting mad love from star safety Tyrann Mathieu, who gave a glowing endorsement on Twitter shortly after the pick became official.

In his two years in Starkville, Gay posted 76 tackles and 9 tackles-for-loss. Gay had 28 tackles, a sack and an interception last season for the SEC powerhouse. During the NFL Combine, he recorded a 4.46 40-yard dash, and the Chiefs could certainly benefit from having an athletic individual in that position.

Gay Might Have a Troubled Past, but a Bright Future Awaits

Although talented on the field, Gay does arrive with concerns stemming from some off-field issues. On the bright side, his talent was too much for the Chiefs to overlook, which explains why Veach is risking it all to give the Mississippi native a chance at redemption.

Gay was suspended for the first three games of the season and five more after that. He was a part of the Mississippi State football cohort who were penalized for allowing a tutor to take exams and complete assignments for him and nine other players in a general chemistry course.

Unfortunately, his troubles would not stop there. Following a practice in preparation for the Music City Bowl, Gay allegedly punched quarterback Garrett Shrader in the face. The freshman suffered a broken orbital bone and was ruled out from the contest due to an “upper-body injury.” Then-Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead did not issue any formal discipline as a result. Gay played in the contest and set a career high in tackles.

All that to say, Gay remains an optimistic individual who Kansas City fans should be extremely excited about. Check out what he had to say about what separates him from the competition:

Plus, with a mentor like Mathieu, he’s only destined for success.

In spite of his complicated past, his arrival to a disciplined team like the Chiefs could only bode well for Gay, who is looking for some vindication after a controversial college career.

3 Picks Left for Chiefs

As the draft continues through the weekend, here’s a look at Kansas City’s remaining picks:

  • Round 3: Pick 96
  • Round 4: Pick 138
  • Round 5: Pick 177
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