The San Francisco 49ers held a pre-draft interview with Michigan State defensive lineman Kenny Willekes via FaceTime, according to Justin Melo of USA Today's NFL Wire Network (h/t to Niners Wire).

Melo reports that Willekes also recently spoke with the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, and New York Giants.

Pre-draft interviews are being held virtually over video chat software, like Apple's FaceTime, as the NFL continues to observe social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. The 49ers held a similar interview this week with TCU offensive lineman Cordel Iwuagwu.

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Willekes racked up 78 tackles in each of his final two seasons with the Spartans. He got to opposing quarterbacks 18 times, recorded 36 tackles for a loss, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and even had an interception and a touchdown during his final two seasons at Michigan State.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, the 6-foot-3 and 264-pound Willekes had a 40-time of 4.87 seconds, a vertical jump of 32.5 inches, a broad jump of 119 inches, completed the three-cone drill in 7.39 seconds, and 32 reps in the bench press. Other measurables for Willekes include an arm length of 31 1/4 inches and hands that measure 9 1/2 inches.

Below is the draft profile bio on Willekes:

An All-Michigan pick as both a linebacker and running back after his senior year of high school, Willekes (pronounced WILL-uh-KISS) still had to walk on at MSU. He immediately showed his worth on the scout team in 2015, earning the squad's player of the week award six times -- more than anyone else. Willekes only played in one game, though, in 2016 due to the Spartans' depth but exploded on the scene as a sophomore. He led the team with 14.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2017 (73 total tackles), grabbing third-team All-Big Ten honors. League coaches named him their Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2018 after he finished in the top 10 nationally with 20.5 tackles for loss and led MSU with 8.5 sacks among his 78 stops. He suffered a broken left fibula in the team's bowl game, however, which kept him from jumping to the NFL. Willekes showed the toughness to return for all 13 games in 2019, garnering second-team all-conference notice after leading the Spartans with 16 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks among his 78 total stops (he also caused and recovered two fumbles).

Lance Zierlein of wrote the following about Willekes within his scouting report:

Willekes has packed on the pounds and the production since arriving at Michigan State as a walk-on. He's a high effort worker-bee with a relentless nose for the football. His refusal to give in until the whistle is more responsible for his success than his size or athletic traits. He's neither quick nor explosive, but he's very instinctive and has an above-average understanding of blocking scheme and play development. He's become a very impactful college player against all odds, but lacks the athletic profile to stick around long-term as a pro.

Joe Marino of The Draft Network wrote the following about Willekes within his scouting report:

Racking up 47.5 tackles for loss and 22 sacks from 2017-2019, Wilekes has been a highly productive defender for Michigan State. He plays with unmatched urgency and is highly competitive. While he may not have the highest ceiling, Willekes does have a high floor as a 4-3 defensive end. His modest play strength and athleticism will present challenges defeating blocks in the NFL and he'll need to become more reliant on his technique which has room for growth. At a minimum, Willekes should be a valuable rotational end and his upside is contingent on if he can get stronger and become more nuanced.


Height: 6-3
Weight: 264 lbs.
Arm length: 31 1/4 inches
Hand length: 9 1/2 inches

NFL Scouting Combine

40-time: 4.87 seconds
Vertical: 32.5 inches
Broad jump: 119 inches
3-cone drill: 7.39 seconds
Bench press: 32 reps

College Statistics
Year School Class G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk
2015 Michigan State FR -- -- -- -- --
2016 Michigan State FR 1 -- -- -- 0.0 0.0
2017 Michigan State SO 13 33 39 72 13.0 5.5
2018 Michigan State JR 13 35 43 78 20.5 8.0
2019 Michigan State SR 13 31 47 78 15.5 10.0
Total Michigan State 99 129 228 49.0 23.5

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