Positives: Great combination of size, athletic ability and strength. Has pretty incredible weight room numbers and is very strong for the DE position, also strong for the DT position. Seems to have an impressive work ethic because you don’t get that strong without a lot of drive to lift. Bailey was productive at Miami and showed some ability as a pass rusher as a senior. Has shown the ability to get the edge at times in college and is strong enough to bull rush his man to collapse the pocket. Has some burst off the line of scrimmage as a pass rusher and his long arms help keep blockers off of him. Plays with good pad level consistently and is tough to push off the ball because of his pad level and his great strength both in his upper and lower body. Seems to have a pretty good motor for backside pursuit and is a solid tackler, occasionally flashing some pop as a hitter. Will get his hands up in passing lanes.
Negatives: For all the talk of Bailey’s great strength it really does not translate as well as you might think it does. The most alarming part of Bailey’s game is his hand usage which is borderline non-existent. He struggles mightily to shed blocks from quality offensive linemen and can be walled off in the running game by an technically sound block from a tight end, even if Bailey outweighs him. Lance Kendricks has done this to him multiple times at the Champs Bowl and again in the Senior Bowl game. He simply can’t get off blocks and stays blocked far too much, and that seriously limits his potential as a playmaker and makes it tough to project him to a defensive line position in the NFL because a man with his size and skill set is either going to be a LE or a DT in a 4-3 or a DE in a 3-4. He just doesn’t have the speed to get the edge consistently enough that he can coast on his athleticism without being able to use his hands. He also doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher, getting a number of his sacks as a result of effort rather than technique, and aside from a speed rush and a bull rush he has no pass rush moves. He is regularly the last one off of the line of scrimmage on Miami’s defensive front and this inconsistency off the snap limits his chances of getting the edge in college, much less the NFL. I’m not sure he has great instincts to read and react when defending the run, and because he doesn’t fight off blocks well he struggles to set the edge as a run defender and rarely is able to stack and shed to wrap up a defender when he runs by him in the hole. Doesn’t break down and wrap up well, but that isn’t particularly surprising considering his size. Doesn’t have much closing speed to gun down a quarterback or ball carrier when he has them in his sights.
Overall: I have long considered Allen Bailey an athletic freak who is overrated as a football player and nothing I have seen from him this year has dissuaded me from thinking that way. If anything it has made me more confident in my assessment of him. I am very conflicted when projecting him to the NFL however, because I have made the mistake of writing off athletic freaks with pretty good work ethics before when it is not impossible for them to improve on some of their flaws and I refuse to do that with Bailey. Hand usage can be coached up, and it’s unfortunate that he hasn’t learned how to use his hands during his career at Miami, but he can still learn. The question becomes how well he can learn to use them, how quickly he can pick it up, and how much more effective it makes him. Will he be able to be a quality pass rusher at LE if he improves his hand usage substantially? That I cannot say. His questionable edge speed makes me doubt that he will ever be a significant threat as a pass rusher at LE, but he would be a much better player at LE, DT or 3-4 DE if he learned to use his hands to keep blockers off of him as a pass rusher and if he learned to shed blocks more consistently as a run defender. A guy with his size and strength should be able to bully almost any blocker one on one but he is getting taken out of plays one on one by tight ends. That level of technique is unacceptable and that is why I am so skeptical of him. However, he definitely has ability and while I think he is a complete boom or bust player there is definitely a chance that he could end up being on the “boom” side if he can learn how to use his hands. But that’s a big if even if it is coachable because I can’t accurately speak for his work ethic, and that hurts his stock a lot in my opinion.
Projection: 3rd round. I could see him going earlier than this, but that would be based off of potential and workout numbers, not off of his actual technique and NFL-readiness. In the mid-3rd round I think he would warrant a flier because he has the ability to be a quality NFL player, he just needs a lot of coaching up and technique work. That makes him intriguing but also very risky.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Rush: 2.5
Point of Attack: 2.5
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