NFL teams meeting with individual players are a significant part of the draft process. These meetings can happen at the NFL Scouting Combine, pro days, the Senior Bowl, the East-West Shrine Game or a private workout.
For fans following the process, these meetings are sort of like poker tells for the draft, as they indicate what positions a team could be focusing on. Do teams draft players they haven’t met with? Yes, they do. It happens all the time (like Lamar Jackson), but they have often spoken to other players at that position.
Who have the Baltimore Ravens met with so far? Check out the list at WalterFootball.com.
So far, teams have had access to players at the East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl and Combine. With no in-person meetings or pro days, finding out who the Ravens met with becomes a tad harder. Therefore, I asked the Twitterverse who they want me to profile. Next up is Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr. Let’s get to know him better.
Tale of the Tape:
Weight: 243 pounds
Strengths: Athletic freak! At the Combine, Gay posted a 4.46 40-yard dash, 21 bench-press reps, 39.5-inch vertical jump and a 4.3 20-yard shuffle. On the field, when he hits you, he hits you hard; very violent player; does not miss tackles once he grabs you; solid in the blitz game; moves well in small spaces and covers well.
Areas For Improvement: His football IQ must improve; takes bad angles and has trouble with field awareness at times; seems to take himself out of plays too often, as he is very impatient.
Other Notes: Off-field issues! Missed eight games in 2019 due to an academic issue involving a tutor; had an altercation with a teammate as well; Gay was a top-50 overall recruit out of high school.
Draft Projection: This is a tough call. Gay simply has not played enough football at the college level to project initially as anything more than a reserve linebacker and special teams player. On the other side, he shows the athletic profile that many linebackers drafted in the top two rounds have had in the past. My guess in Gay is that he’ll be a third- to fourth-round pick with lots of upside. Some teams will not have him on their draft boards because of his off-field issues but strong organizations could see the upside only.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mississippi State Athletics