Stedman Bailey: 5 Things You Need to Know About the West Virginia Wide Receiver
West Virginia wide receiver Stedman Bailey is an mouth-watering 2013 NFL draft prospect. He was a prolific pass-catcher in the Mountaineers offense, especially during the 2012 season, when he and quarterback Geno Smith connected for 25 touchdowns through the air. Bailey was one of college football's biggest playmakers last season.
Bailey's combine and WVU pro day weren't eye-popping, but if his professional potential is anywhere near that of his collegiate production, he's a weapon that any right-minded NFL quarterback would love to have at his disposal. This article will highlight five things you must know about the West Virginia wide receiver, just in case he is catching passes for your team in 2013.
Birthday: Nov. 11, 1990 (Age 22)
Hometown: Miramar, Florida
High School: Miramar High School
Major: Multidisciplinary Studies
Year: Redshirt Junior
Bailey (5’10”, 193 lbs.) is a Florida native who graduated from Miramar High in 2009. A two-time All-State selection, Bailey was ranked the sixth-best player in Brower County by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, making him one of the top wide receiver prospects coming out of high school. His Mountaineer teammate, Geno Smith, was also his high school quarterback.
Bailey was redshirted in 2009 and is now entering the draft after completing the 2012 season as a redshirted junior. From 2010-2012, Bailey played in 39 games with the Mountaineers, including bowl games. In 2011, Bailey’s redshirt sophomore season, he emerged as one of the Big East’s top receiving threats.
Bailey majored in multidisciplinary studies at WVU.
2010: 13 games, 24 catches, 317 yards, 4 TDs, 13.2 YPC
2011: 13 games, 72 catches, 1,279 yards, 12 TDs, 17.8 YPC
2012: 13 games, 114 catches, 1,622 yards, 25 TDs, 14.2 YPC
Bailey did not record any statistics as a true freshman in 2009, as he was redshirted.
In 2010, as a redshirt freshman, Bailey worked his way into the Mountaineers offense, recording 24 catches for 317 yards and four touchdowns. In a 23-7 loss to North Carolina State in the Champs Sports Bowl, Bailey contributed four grabs for 61 yards and a touchdown in one of his most productive games of the season.
As a redshirt sophomore in 2011, Bailey broke out as one of West Virginia’s biggest stars. Bailey ripped off seven 100-yard performances in an eight-game stretch. He concluded the season with 72 catches, 1,279 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He also caught five balls in a blowout win over Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl, taking one for a touchdown.
During his redshirt junior season in 2012, Bailey exploded for 114 receptions, 1,622 yards and 25 touchdowns. Bailey recorded double-digit catches in five games, eclipsing 200 yards receiving in back-to-back games against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Remarkably, he also broke 300 yards, while also scoring five touchdowns, in an early-season shootout with Baylor.
Bailey closed out his collegiate career with an eight-catch, 121-yard performance against Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Bailey scored twice, but the Mountaineers fell, 38-14.
Weight: 193 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 3/4"
Hand Size: 9 7/8"
40-Yard Dash: 4.52 sec.
Broad Jump: 117"
Vertical Jump: 34.5"
Despite Bailey’s extremely productive career at West Virginia, he did not have a particularly impressive showing at the NFL Scouting Combine. The most important event for a wide receiver is the 40-yard dash, and Bailey finished in the middle of the pack with a time of 4.52 seconds.
Bailey’s 40-yard dash time ranked 18th out of the 29 wide receivers that worked out at the combine. His performance during the bench press (11 repetitions) and vertical jump (34.5 inches) were also middle of the pack.
Bailey excelled in the broad jump (117 inches), three-cone drill (4.09 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (6.81 seconds), finishing among the top 10 wide receivers in all three exercises. He did not participate in the 60-yard shuttle.
At West Virginia’s pro day, Bailey was overshadowed by quarterback Geno Smith and wide receiver Tavon Austin, both of whom are expected to be selected in the first round of the draft. It is noted, however, that Bailey dropped two of Smith’s four incompletions when he was 60-of-64 passing.
Many experts see Bailey as a third-round prospect, but he could be selected late in the second round.
Bailey was a very accomplished wide receiver at West Virginia. He earned All-Big East freshman honors in 2010. The following year, his redshirt sophomore season, Bailey was a second-team All-Big East selection. Last season, he was an easy selection for first-team All-Big East.
During his final season in Morgantown, Bailey set single-season WVU records for receiving yards (1,622) and touchdowns (25). Those numbers helped him earn a spot on the Walter Camp All-American second team. He was also a finalist for the 2012 Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the country’s most outstanding college receiver.
In the classroom, Bailey was a member of the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll.
On film, Bailey is more impressive than his combine numbers indicate. The YouTube video to the left highlights Bailey’s targets against Marshall, Baylor and Texas in 2012. On almost all snaps, he is split out toward the left sideline.
On 44 percent of the snaps (15 of 34), another receiver is lined up inside Bailey, and in some four-wide receiver sets, there are two receivers lined up inside of him. On 56 percent of the snaps (18 of 34), Bailey is split wide by himself.
Many of Bailey’s receptions come at or near the line of scrimmage. These catches are designed to get Bailey the ball in open space, where he is most effective. He can keep defenders honest, though, with his deep threat ability. He makes a nice over-the-shoulder catch behind Baylor’s defense at the 4:19 mark.
Bailey’s X-factor, his intelligence and natural feel for the position make up for his rather ordinary combine numbers. Bailey recognizes coverage busts, as seen at the 3:03 and 4:44 marks. He also tricks two Baylor defenders into stopping short with a nifty move at the 5:18 mark. At the very least, Bailey should be clever enough to draw flags against NFL defenders, just like he does at the 2:18 mark.
The Mountaineers receiver has an exceptional ability to both catch the ball in traffic in the end zone (0:04 and 5:45 marks) and find open space in the end zone (2:12 and 7:07 marks). In addition, Bailey possesses decent sideline presence, reeling in a pair of toe-tappers at the 6:00 and 7:23 marks.
From this film, one concern about Bailey is his lack of routes run across the middle. It seems as if Bailey is most comfortable doing most of his damage along the left sideline. This is probably a byproduct of WVU’s offensive style, but pro scouts surely prefer receivers with that type of experience; running through the heart of an NFL defense can be a death sentence.