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2015 NFL DRAFT
player photo

Josh Lay

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 197 | College: Pittsburgh
 
Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange
Overview

One of the top pass coverage defenders in college football, Lay has the field awareness, size, strength and speed to be a stellar playmaker.

Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads praises Lay's ability. "Josh has the size, arm length and the instinct to go get a ball and take it 60 yards," Rhoads said. "He can really anticipate a throw and go get it. Whether it's the curl or the hitch, he has an ability to sense it, sit on it and then go get it. His demeanor and work ethic have always been at a high level."

Prior to attending Pittsburgh, Lay was an Associated Press 2000 Small School All-State player (first-team) at Aliquippa High School. He was named Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2000 Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year (1999-2000), in addition to earning 2000 WPIAL Class AA Player of the Year and "Fabulous 22" honors from the Post-Gazette. Lay was Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Class AA Player of the Year as a senior and junior and a member of the Tribune-Review "Terrific 25" squad.

The three-year starter at cornerback for the Quips also started during his sophomore year at wide receiver and junior and senior seasons at quarterback. He threw for 1,368 yards and 18 touchdowns, completing 71 of 139 passes and rushing for 556 yards on 63 carries (8.8 avg) while catching two passes for 51 yards as a senior.

Over his junior and senior years, Lay completed 147 of 300 passes for 2,831 yards and 37 touchdowns. He was Aliquippa's leading receiver as a sophomore with 29 receptions for 637 yards (21.9 avg) and had 18 career interceptions, including four as a senior, five as a junior and nine as a sophomore. Lay made two interceptions in the 2000 WPIAL championship game despite playing with a broken hand.

He led the team to a 14-1 record, the 2000 WPIAL Class AA championship and the state finals while leading the Quips to a combined 34-5 record (.872) during his career. In addition to lettering three times in football, Lay also was a standout in basketball, earning three letters. He helped the Quips to two WPIAL Class AA basketball championships and the 2001 state title game. His basketball honors included being named to the Post-Gazette's "Fabulous Five" and the Tribune-Review's "Terrific 10" squads.

Academic issues forced Lay to attend Valley Forge (Pa.) Military Academy in 2001, where he competed as a quarterback, receiver and cornerback. Against Wyoming Seminary, Lay intercepted four passes. He transferred to Pittsburgh for the 2002 season, appearing in 10 games. He started the Temple game, finishing the year with five tackles (3 solos).

In 2003, Lay started the first four games at right cornerback and came off the bench the rest of the year. He totaled a career-high 37 tackles (33 solos) with two fumble recoveries, an interception and 14 pass deflections. A hamstring injury would hamper Lay's performance in 2004 and he did not start until the final six games. He collected 22 tackles (18 solos) with three interceptions and 12 pass breakups.

Through the first eight games of the 2005 season, Lay delivered 16 tackles (15 solos) with two stops for losses. He intercepted one pass and deflected 11 others. In 43 games with the Panthers, Lay started 19 times. He registered 80 tackles (69 solos) with 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Lay gained 20 yards on two fumble recovery returns and 128 yards with a touchdown on five interception returns. He also batted away 37 passes.

Analysis

Positives: Has good size with solid overall muscle definition, minimal body fat (4 percent), good bubble, thick legs, long arms and adequate strength … Quick to break down and diagnose plays and will not bite on misdirection … Does a good job of getting into position and making plays in front of him … Uses his hands effectively in press coverage and shows determination to get his hands around to break up passes … Best when keeping plays in front of him rather than playing on deep routes, where his lack of blazing timed speed could be exposed by speedier receivers … Has the range and closing speed to make plays along the sidelines … Knows how to open his hips, plant and drive to come out of his breaks smoothly … Can turn and run to stay on the hip of a receiver, doing a good job of shadowing his opponent through the route's progression … Has a good spring in his step once he locates the ball … Has the ability to come out of his breaks and close on the reception point.

Negatives: Needs to improve his work habits, as he does not always give good effort on the field, especially when asked to support vs. the run … Has natural hands, but will shy away from contact at times and fail to go vertical in attempts to compete for jump balls … Seems to go out of his way to avoid blockers and lacks the fire in his belly to face up to blockers when working in the box … Marginal tackler who will "ankle bite" or give a side rather than square up to wrap and secure … Is developing better maturity, but his academic problems have been the result of poor effort, not a learning disability … Ducks his head too much before making tackles, which allows more than a handful of opponents to slip off his initial hit … Lack of effort has greatly hurt his production, as he only has 80 tackles in 43 games.

Lay has good overall muscle definition, long arms, broad shoulders, good chest thickness and a frame that can carry at least another 10 pounds of bulk. He is a smart, physical open field tackler who quickly gets into position to make plays due to his ability to break down and diagnose the action. While he has good speed for man coverage, he gets better success in that area due to his ability to use his hands with force to press and reroute the receiver.

Lay has the hip snap to turn and run on the play coming out of transition. He is very capable of handling the mental aspect of the game, doing a nice job of anticipating the receiver and quarterback on deep routes. He has the body control and hand/eye coordination to maintain relationship with receivers while tracking deep passes over his shoulder. There is no hesitation in his play and he shows good positioning to keep plays in front of him.

He might not win foot races vs. speedy receivers, but he can generate the burst to recover when his man gets a step on him. Lay takes good angles to close, showing the range to come up and make plays along the perimeter. He might not have stellar interception totals, but he shows natural hands, good arm extension and adequate timing ability to get to the pass at its high point.

Lay generates good acceleration coming out of his breaks and does a very nice job of playing the sidelines to angle off in man coverage. He can play the ball behind him when dropping off in the zone and has a good spring in his step to close on the play. He displays the ability to plant and drive with good hip snap when closing on the reception.

Lay has the size and strength to make plays at the line of scrimmage in run support, but at times, he does not appear to put forth the effort, as he seems hesitant to mix it up in the trenches. He appears more comfortable making plays on the ball rather than stepping up to try and cut down pulling blockers in run force.

As a tackler, he needs to refine his technique. He does not hit with authority, despite his good strength. Lay is more of an "ankle biter" who will arm tackle or take a side rather than wrap up and secure. He just seems to do whatever he can to avoid contact, especially in tight quarters. Producing only 80 tackles in 45 games is evidence of his reluctance to step up and deliver a hit.

Lay remains a work in progress. If a team is looking strictly for a cover cornerback, it will like what it sees in this player. However, if the defensive scheme calls for defensive backs to make plays vs. the run, some teams will question Lay's courage working at the line of scrimmage. He is an alert player who can handle the mental aspect of the game, despite academic deficiencies that forced him to attend prep school prior to arriving at Pittsburgh (also failed to meet academic requirements originally in 2004).

If he can develop more aggression in his play, Lay has the other tools to be at least a capable nickel back at the next level. But he has to develop more consistency in his play and show more courage attacking ball carriers.

Career Notes

The grizzled veteran started 19 of 43 games for the Panthers … Intercepted five passes for 128 yards in returns with a touchdown and deflected 37 passes while posting 80 tackles (69 solos).

2005 Season

All-Big East Conference first-team preseason selection by The NFL Draft Report and The Poor Man's Guide to the NFL Draft … Started the team's first eight games at right cornerback … Recorded 16 tackles (15 solos) with two stops behind the line of scrimmage … Had 11 pass deflections and gained 11 yards on an interception … Six of his tackles came in run support … Had eight third-down stops.

2005 Game Analysis

Notre Dame … Began the season with a pair of solo tackles, including one that stopped tight end John Carlson after a 3-yard reception from QB Brady Quinn in the second quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Maurice Stovall-Two catches for 17 yards.

Ohio University … Totaled three solo tackles as the secondary allowed only 114 yards on 14-of-24 passes … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Scott Mayle-Two catches for 6 yards.

Nebraska … Added a solo tackle and a pass breakup as the Panthers held the Huskers to 10-of-20 pass completions, good for a total of 93 yards … Killed a scoring drive at the start of the second quarter when Lay deflected a third-and-3 pass thrown by QB Zac Taylor that was intended for Frantz Hardy … Later that quarter, Lay chased down Cory Ross after the tailback picked up 14 yards on a run off left end … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Terrence Nunn-One catch for 36 yards.

Youngstown State … Had another solo tackle as Pittsburgh held YSU to 43 yards on 8-of-25 passing … Tackled Jameson Evans after the receiver gained 17 yards on a pass from QB Tom Zetts, and YSU offensive tackle John Bartos was penalized 15 yards for grabbing Lay's face mask on the play … Two plays later, on a 17-yard pass from Zetts to Aaron Marshall, Lay was penalized for defensive holding … At the start of the fourth quarter, Lay deflected a Vince Gliatta pass that was intended for T.J. Peterson … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Damian Wright-One catch for 7 yards.

Rutgers … Registered his third straight game with one solo tackle and a pass breakup … Forced the Knights to settle for a 22-yard field goal midway through the first quarter by deflecting a third-and-3 pass thrown by QB Ryan Hart that was intended for Shawn Tucker … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Shawn Tucker-Four catches for 74 yards.

Cincinnati … Knocked down three passes and posted a pair of solo tackles … Outjumped receiver Earnest Jackson to bat away a pass thrown by QB Nick Davila early in the second quarter … Three plays later, Lay deflected Davila's pass that was intended for Dominick Goodman … In the third quarter, Lay tackled QB Dustin Grutza on a 9-yard draw play and later deflected Grutza's pass to Antwuan Giddens … With 5:28 left in the game, Earnest Jackson beat Lay down the sidelines on a 22-yard touchdown pass by Grutza … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Earnest Jackson-Three catches for 85 yards and a touchdown.

South Florida … Registered three tackles (2 solos) with two stops behind the line of scrimmage, deflected a pass and intercepted another … Two of his plays resulted in third-down stops … Earned the coaching staff's Defensive Player of the Game honors for his performance … Backup QB Courtney Denson was intercepted by Lay on a third-and-8 pass in the third quarter and Lay returned the ball 11 yards, setting up an 8-yard scoring pass by Pitt QB Tyler Palko to Darrell Strong … During USF's game-opening drive, Lay tackled QB Pat Julmiste for a 1-yard loss on a bootleg, but USF offensive guard Walt Walker was penalized 9 yards for holding on the play … At the start of the fourth quarter, Lay brought down Jessie Hester for a 1-yard loss on a reverse … With five minutes left in the game, Lay batted away Pat Julmiste's pass that was intended for Amarri Jackson … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Amarri Jackson-Three catches for 24 yards.

Syracuse … Posted three solo tackles and was a major reason the Orange gained only 89 yards while completing 9 of 26 passes … Lay registered four pass deflections … Batted the ball out of the hands of Rice Moss on a pass from QB Perry Patterson in the first quarter … On Syracuse's next drive, Lay deflected a third-and-9 Patterson pass that was intended for J.J. Bedle, forcing Syracuse to settle for a 32-yard field goal … Chased down Damien Rhodes after the tailback raced off left end for a 15-yard gain at the start of the second quarter … Two plays later, Lay cut blocked Patterson after the QB attempted to tackle middle linebacker H.B. Blades, who had intercepted a pass thrown by Patterson and followed Lay's block for a 38-yard touchdown return … Again batted the ball out of Moss's hands on a third quarter throw from Patterson and deflected another pass to Moss by Patterson in the fourth quarter … Killed a late fourth quarter drive when Lay tackled J.J. Bedle on a third-and-19 pass from Patterson that netted 11 yards … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Rice Moss-Two catches for 29 yards.

2004 Season

Earned second-team All-Big East Conference and Pitt's Most Improved Defensive Player honors … Led the team with 15 passes defended (12 pass deflections and three interceptions) … Was suspended for the first week of fall camp for failing to complete his summer school academic requirements and was slowed by a hamstring pull the first part of the year … Started the final six games at right cornerback … Recorded 22 tackles (18 solos), with eight on third-down plays … Also had a pair of fourth-down stops.

2004 Game Analysis

Nebraska and Furman … Did not record any tackles in either game.

Ohio University and Connecticut … Posted a pair of solo tackles and a pass deflection in each game.

Temple … Batted away a pass and made one solo tackle.

Boston College … Saw his first extensive action of the 2004 season, coming off the bench to deliver four tackles (3 solos) and deflect three passes … At the start of the fourth quarter, Lay was beaten on a 29-yard flag pass thrown by QB Paul Peterson to Grant Adams for a first down, but three plays later, Lay deflected a third-and-5 pass thrown by Peterson that was intended for Tony Gonzalez … Later on that drive, Peterson threw a fourth-and-4 pass to Joel Hazard that Lay deflected, but Lay was penalized 15 yards for pass interference, setting up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Peterson to Larry Lester that capped a 10-play, 89-yard drive … With less than two minutes left to play, Lay knocked Peterson's pass to Jason Lilly out of the receiver's hands … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Grant Adams-12 catches for 164 yards (note-Adams gained 60 yards on four catches vs. Lay in the fourth quarter).

Rutgers … Returned to the starting lineup for the first time in 2004, responding with four tackles (3 solos), three pass deflections and an interception to earn Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors … Intercepted a Ryan Hart pass in the second quarter and returned the ball 82 yards for a touchdown … At the start of the third quarter, Lay deflected Hart's pass that was intended for Chris Baker, and seven plays later, he knocked down another Hart pass before Baker could make the play … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Chris Baker-Two catches for 55 yards.

Syracuse … Produced three tackles (2 solos) and deflected a pass, but was beaten by Jared Jones for a 6-yard touchdown on a second quarter pass thrown by QB Joe Fields … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Jared Jones-Four catches for 136 yards and a touchdown.

Notre Dame … Followed with a solo tackle while intercepting two passes on third-down plays … Intercepted Brady Quinn's third-and-8 pass and returned it 4 yards on the game's third play from scrimmage … Quinn's third quarter third-and-4 throw was intercepted by Lay and returned 31 yards in the third quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Carlyle Holiday-No catches.

West Virginia … Followed with two solo tackles and a pair of pass breakups, including one on a third-and-8 pass from Rasheed Marshall to Dwayne Thompson that killed a scoring drive in the second quarter … Also tackled tailback Kay-Jay Harris on an 11-yard run in the third quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR John Pennington-One catch for 7 yards.

South Florida … Started, but did not record any tackles … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR S.J. Green-One catch for 8 yards.

Utah (Fiesta Bowl) … Made three tackles (2 solos) and assisted on a stop behind the line of scrimmage when he joined free safety Jameel Brady in stopping Marty Johnson for a 3-yard loss on a rushing attempt in the second quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Steve Savoy-Seven catches for 70 yards.

2003 Season

Played in every game, starting the first four games at right cornerback before coming off the bench the rest of the year … Recorded a career-high 37 tackles (33 solos) with two fumble recoveries … Intercepted a pass and deflected 14 others … Made eight third-down stops … Recipient of the Ed Conway Award, annually presented to the most improved players at the conclusion of spring drills.

2003 Game Analysis

Kent State … Opened the season with five solo tackles and two pass deflections … Intercepted a third-and-6 pass thrown by Joshua Cribbs in the first quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Daryl Moore-Two catches for 15 yards.

Ball State … Followed with four solo tackles, including one on the game's first drive, when he took down Larry Bostic after a 6-yard run on a third-and-9 play. BSU would attempt a 46-yard field goal on the following play, but missed … Also tackled Talmadge Hill on a run up the middle for no gain … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Ryan Hahaj-Four catches for 43 yards.

Toledo … Posted a career-high nine tackles (7 solos) with a pair of pass deflections … Forced the Rockets to punt with 1:40 left in the first half when he batted down a third-and-12 pass thrown by QB Bruce Gradkowski that was intended for Terrance Hudson … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Terrance Hudson-Six catches for 53 yards.

Texas A&M … In his final start during the 2003 season, Lay delivered three solo tackles and knocked down two passes … Stopped an early first quarter drive when he tackled Tim Van Zant after a 7-yard gain on a third-and-8 pass thrown by QB Reggie McNeal … Batted away a McNeal pass intended for Terrence Murphy and another McNeal pass thrown to Jamaar Taylor in the second quarter … Had a third quarter pass breakup nullified when Lay was penalized for pass interference on a throw from McNeal that was intended for Taylor … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Terrence Murphy-Four catches for 61 yards.

Rutgers … Deflected two passes and made four solo tackles.

Syracuse … Had two solo tackles and a pass breakup … Recovered a fumble by QB R.J. Anderson in the second quarter and returned the ball 20 yards for his first career touchdown.

Boston College … Added a pair of pass breakups, including one on a third-and-7 pass by QB Quinton Porter to Larry Lester in the second quarter.

Virginia Tech … Recovered a fumble in the second quarter when Charles Spencer stripped the ball from halfback Cedric Humes on a 4-yard run, setting up a 2-yard touchdown run by Pitt QB Rod Rutherford.

Virginia (Continental Tire Bowl) … Closed the year with three solo tackles and a pass deflection … Teamed with linebacker Lewis Moore to stop tailback Wali Lundy for a 1-yard gain on a second-and-goal run early in the second quarter.

2002 Season

Appeared in 10 games, playing primarily in nickel and dime defensive packages … Made five tackles (3 solos) … Made two tackles vs. Syracuse and in his first career start vs. Temple, added another two stops.

PREP SCHOOL

Played quarterback, receiver and cornerback at Valley Forge Military Academy for head coach Mike Muscella during the 2001 season … Intercepted four passes in the Wyoming Seminary game.

Injury Report

2000: Played with a broken hand late in his high school senior year.

2004: Bothered early in the season after suffering a hamstring pull during fall camp practices (8/15).

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.51 in the 40-yard dash … 305-pound bench press … 465-pound squat … 250-pound power clean … 290-pound incline press … 36.5-inch vertical jump … 3.99 20-yard shuttle … 4 percent body fat … 33 1/8-inch arm length … 9 3/8-inch hands.

Combine: 4.48-second 40-yard dash. … 16 reps at 225 pounds. … 40 1/2-inch vertical jump. … 10'00" broad jump.

High School

Attended Aliquippa (Pa.) High School, lettering three times in football for head coach Mike Zmijanac … Named to 2000 Associated Press Small School All-State first-team … Named Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2000 Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year (1999-2000), in addition to earning 2000 WPIAL Class AA Player of the Year and "Fabulous 22" honors from that publication … Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Class AA Player of the Year as a senior and junior and a member of the Tribune-Review "Terrific 25" squad … The three-year starter at cornerback for the Quips also started during his sophomore year at wide receiver and junior and senior seasons at quarterback … Threw for 1,368 yards and 18 touchdowns, completing 71 of 139 passes and rushing for 556 yards on 63 carries (8.8 avg) while catching two passes for 51 yards as a senior … Over his junior and senior years, Lay completed 147 of 300 passes for 2,831 yards and 37 touchdowns … Was Aliquippa's leading receiver as a sophomore with 29 receptions for 637 yards (21.9 avg) and had 18 career interceptions, including four as a senior, five as a junior and nine as a sophomore … Intercepted two passes in the 2000 WPIAL championship game despite playing with a broken hand … Led the team to a 14-1 record, the 2000 WPIAL Class AA championship and the state final while leading the Quips to a combined 34-5 record (.872) during his career … Was a standout in basketball, earning three letters. He helped the Quips to two WPIAL Class AA basketball championships and the 2001 state title game … His basketball honors included being named to the Post-Gazette's "Fabulous Five" and the Tribune-Review's "Terrific 10" squads.

Personal

Administration of Justice major … Son of Eleanor Kimbrough and Bernard Lay … Nickname is Josh … Born Bernard Lay on 9/08/82 … Resides in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.

 
 

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