ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (WDAF) — During his time at Mississippi State, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay’s speed and athleticism stood out and got him drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
At the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, Gay ran a 4.46 40-yard dash, which was second among all linebackers and an 11-foot-4-inch broad jump which topped the position group.
After a rookie year that saw a limited number of snaps and an injury before the Super Bowl, Gay is working to get back to full fitness and be a force in the linebackers group.
“He stayed up here the whole offseason and worked. He’s doing good. He’s really busted his tail, so it’s refreshing. He’s got such a positive attitude,” head coach Andy Reid said.
In the first few days of training camp, Gay has picked off a few passes from quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The turnovers he and his defensive teammates have been causing have even annoyed offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
“Sometimes you have good days, sometimes the guys on the other side have good days,” Bieniemy said. “The only thing you want to see is guys making sure that they continue to play with the effort that we expect them to play with.”
Gay’s improvement and performance has even caught the attention of teammate Tyrann Mathieu who shouted out the 23-year-old on Twitter.
“Willie Gay. That’s the tweet,” the Honey Badger wrote.
Hype around the young linebackers like Gay and rookie Nick Bolton, 21, out of Missouri has grown due to their explosive energy and speed. For the last few years, the position has had several veterans come through and lead the way.
“We’re both still fresh in this thing, so I teach him the game as much as I can because I’m still learning from guys like Hitch (Anthony Hitches) and Ben (Niemann) and Dorian (O’Daniel) and all those older guys. So whatever I learn, I pass it down to him,” Gay said earlier this offseason. “Whatever I’ve been through, I pass it down to him and we continue to stay close. I’m learning him, he’s learning me, so it’s a good connection we have.”
Much is said about the offensive side of the ball for the Chiefs and Gay will be part of the group that tries to make the defensive unit just as potent.
“Really all I want to do is just my job. Be able to be counted on and just do what I do to the best of my ability,” Gay said. “Whether it’s tackling, whether it’s covering guys, blitzing, just continue to improve each and every day on the details of plays and execute every little detail that I do have with my assignments and all.”