NFL first-round draft pick dead at 25

Jeff Gladney, an Arizona Cardinals defensive player who was picked in the first round of the NFL Draft in 2020, died in a car crash on Monday, CNN reported.

Gladney, a 25-year-old cornerback, was one of two who died in the 2:30 a.m. crash in Dallas, Texas, the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

“The crash involved two vehicles, according to a news release from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. A preliminary investigation found that a white vehicle was speeding and clipped a second vehicle from behind,” CNN reported.

“The white vehicle then lost control and hit a freeway pier beam, killing the man and woman inside, the release said. The second vehicle was also occupied by a man and woman, who were not injured.”

Gladney, a three-star recruit out of high school, played his college ball at Texas Christian University.

After redshirting his freshman year to to an anterior cruciate ligament strain, he was a four-year starter who earned all-Big 12 Conference honors and was named to the 2020 Senior Bowl in his final year at TCU.

In the 2020 NFL Draft, Gladney was chosen in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings with the 31st pick.

He ended up starting from Week 2 onwards for the team and finished with 81 total tackles and one forced fumble.

However, Gladney would be released by the team after being charged with felony domestic abuse.

After being found not guilty, the Cardinals signed him to a two-year contract in March of this year.

While he’d only been with the team for two months, he’d been taking part in the Cardinals’ organized team practices.

“We are devastated to learn of Jeff Gladney’s passing,” the Cardinals said in a statement.

“Our hearts go out to his family, friends and all who are mourning this tremendous loss.”

His former team, the Vikings, also expressed condolences.

“We are saddened by the tragic death of former Viking Jeff Gladney,” the team said in a tweet. “Our hearts go out to his family and friends, as well as the Arizona Cardinals organization and Jeff’s current and former teammates and coaches who are mourning his life lost much too soon.”

Gladney’s teammates also took to social media to mourn his passing.

“Horrifying news to hear this morning,” defensive end J.J. Watt tweeted. “Just tragic. Rest In Peace Jeff.”

“Rest In Peace Jeff. Prayers to you and your family,” Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen tweeted.

Gladney leaves behind a son.