James Gayle was one of the four starters this past season on what was one of the best defensive lines in college football for the Hokies this past season and helped do a great job slowing down opposing offenses while putting tons of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. James Gayle had 6 sacks this past season and showed a lot of potential to be a starting defensive end at the next level just like many other former Virginia Tech players like the Hokie legend Bruce Smith, Darryl Tapp, and John Engelberger. James Gayle will be drafted in May unless something crazy happens but where he ends up being drafted is still a mystery.
As previously mentioned, Gayle had 4 sacks in 2010, 7 in 2011, 5 in 2012, and 6 in 2013 so Gayle has had tons of success putting pressure on quarterbacks throughout his four year career at Virginia Tech. Gayle also knows how to shed blocks and is a solid run stuffer which is a trait that gives him an advantage over numerous other defensive ends in the 2014 NFL Draft. Gayle also has great size for a defensive end at 6’4” and 255 pounds and that type of size is something that doesn’t go unnoticed by NFL scouts.
The potential biggest issue for Gayle is the fact that his sack production, while being consistent, hasn’t grown which could lead to some scouts believing that he doesn’t have a very big ceiling. Of course, Gayle has been on defensive lines with 3 other players that know how to get to the quarterback so Gayle can’t be blamed too much for seeing his sack production be fairly consistent. Gayle will have a chance to show off some his raw skills at the 2014 NFL Combine and that could be his chance to start climbing up some 2014 NFL Draft boards. James Gayle has the best chance at challenging Kyle Fuller to be the first Hokie taken in the 2014 NFL Draft with Gayle seeming likely to go in the third round and no later than the fourth.