Dion Bailey, S, USC (HT: 5'11⅜”, WT: 201 lbs)
NFL Comparison: Louis Delmas, Safety, Detroit Lions
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- Good size and length for a safety, and his frame holds his weight well. He shouldn't need to add much muscle if he stays a defensive back.
- Able to play man with bigger receivers and tight ends due to physical nature and strong ball skills.
- Always focused on the ball, and once he locates the ball, he is able to attack it, forcing either incompletions or interceptions.
- Has the mindset of a hybrid linebacker/safety after playing much of his career at weak-side linebacker for the USC Trojans.
- Understands his role and plays with impressive discipline in coverage.
- Showed much more aggressiveness near the line of scrimmage towards the end of 2013, forcing difficult throws and putting pressure on the quarterback.
- Diagnoses the pass or run instantly, and he always takes a step in the right direction to begin the play.
- Contributed right away as a freshman, and the coaches couldn’t help but keep him on the field, notching an impressive career total of 221 tackles and 11 interceptions over three seasons.
- Good athlete with above-average fluidity. Has top-end potential of a good starter at strong safety.
- Wasn’t a traditional safety; he lined up as an undersized box defender, and linebacker could be his position moving forward. If so, then his size will always be a concern.
- Played in heavy underneath zone schemes, and a lack of confidence and technique in man coverage showed when he became grabby in downfield situations.
- Despite notching impressive tackle statistics, he does not tackle with consistent effort or form, often arm tackling or going for the big hit.
- More of a cleanup tackler as opposed to the guy making first contact; needs to hustle to the ball-carrier.
- Instincts are only average while in coverage; he won’t deviate from the scheme when he sees where the quarterback is going with the ball.
- Average range and speed could limit his ability to play deep.
- There isn't much technique when backpedaling and pivoting, so if he's going to be a full-time safety, he will need development.
- Bailey leaves USC as a policy, planning and development major.
- While at USC, he spent five days in Haiti building homes and assisting those in need.
- Bailey is a former 4-star prospect from Lakewood, Calif., according to rivals.com.
- Played 2011 and 2012 seasons at strong-side linebacker; converted to safety in 2013.
After an impressive career at USC, Dion Bailey projects as a player who will need to be put in a scheme that really puts his skill set to use. His best position is at strong safety, and the scheme should allow him to play as a Cover 3 robber. When Bailey can keep the ball in front of his eyes, he is a hard-hitting ball hawk. These traits could lead to a successful NFL career.
Draft Projection: Third Round