Sep 7, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end James Gayle (99) pursues the ball during the first quarter against the Western Carolina Catamounts at Lane Stadium. Virginia Tech defeated Western Carolina 45-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
The second and third rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft tonight and one of the three Hokies that could go tonight is defensive end James Gayle. Gayle is a borderline third round pick and could definitely fall into the fourth or fifth round but there are plenty of teams that could end up taking him in the third or fourth round. James Gayle had a productive Virginia Tech career with 22 total sacks over four season and no season in which he had less than 4 sacks. James Gayle has been a better run defender with over tackles for loss in each of the past 3 seasons with his best season happening in 2011 when he had 7 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. So, who are the three most likely destinations for James Gayle?
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints did not address their need for help at 3-4 outside linebacker in the first round and could look for a guy later on in the third round. James Gayle has the skills to shift from defensive end to being a 3-4 outside linebacker and could push for some playing time early on. Gayle also is a fairly well-rounded player that might not be elite but could definitely be very good as a situational guy. James Gayle could be a very good pickup for the Saints and New Orleans is definitely a potential destination for the Hokie.
Oct 26, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end James Gayle (99) runs onto the field before the game against the Duke Blue Devils at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
The Cincinnati Bengals have had some depth at defensive end in the past and the departure of Michael Johnson means the Bengals could use some depth. James Gayle could take a situation role behind Carlos Dunlap and Robert Geathers while also getting the chance to develop for a year or two before taking a starting job. Gayle could come a lot for run plays as a rookie and occassionally can be brought on in a passing situation if Dunlap or Geathers needs some rest. The Bengals could end up taking James Gayle near the end of the third round tonight.
The Atlanta Falcons were rumored with trading up for Jadeveon Clowney and could be a team that looks at James Gayle as a guy they can trade to get in the late third round or take in the fourth round. Gayle could defintiely fight for a starting job as a rookie with Tyson Jackson who is built more for a 3-4 defense or to be a 4-3 defensive tackle. Gayle can definitely earn a starting spot with the Falcons and could be a very good run defender while also getting the chance to become a better pass rusher. Gayle could be a target for the Falcons in the early fourth round or if they make some moves, the late third round.
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