Thus far this offseason, I have done scouting reports on 14 players who played on the defensive line in college:
Despite all playing the line, there are quite a few differences between these players. Only Taylor projects as a nose tackle in the NFL. Paea is probably a three-technique, while guys like Watt, Nevis and Wilkerson played some defensive tackle in college but project as five-technique ends in Dallas’ 3-4 system. Others, such as Quinn and Moch, would transition to outside linebacker if they are selected by 3-4 teams.
I would compare today’s feature, Miami’s Allen Bailey, to Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn. Like Clayborn, Bailey was a mammoth 4-3 defensive end (285 pounds) in college who would uncommonly stay at that position even in a 3-4 system.
Once considered a potential first-round selection, Bailey has since fallen off the map a bit. As I analyzed a bunch of his games, I think it is for good reason. Bailey has the worst “get-off” I have seen in this class, by far. No one is even close. He is simply horrible at anticipating the snap and garnering a useful first step.
I checked out a few other scouting reports on Bailey, and they actually claim he possesses great quickness and explosiveness off the ball. I have no idea what these people are watching. Watch any game of Bailey’s, and you see a player who is so slow off the ball that it actually makes your jaw drop. I literally said, “what the hell is he doing?” aloud as I watched his tape.
So why was Bailey ever ranked so high? Well, he’s an athlete. Despite what I consider below-average quickness (even for someone his size), he does have good long speed (4.77 40-yard dash). He’s well put together and simply looks the part. This will fool a team into selecting him too early.
It can’t be Dallas.
Bailey’s largest strength in college was his versatility. He played all along the defensive line. Ironically, it is tough to determine his future position in the NFL. Since the Combine, Bailey has inexplicably dropped 10 pounds. At just 275, he’s probably too light to fit into a 3-4 defense (particularly Rob Ryan’s two-gap scheme). He’ll probably be utilized as a left defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, but I don’t think his skill set is a particularly good fit for that, either.
Bailey is capable of holding ground at the point-of-attack. He does possess good overall strength, and he won’t consistently get driven off the ball. Still, he has trouble getting off of blocks and making plays for himself. His 19 career sacks at Miami are good, but not great. I’m actually surprised he tallied that many.
Overall, Bailey is an athlete who isn’t a particularly great football player. He will be a project for whichever team chooses him. Despite his athleticism, I don’t think he possesses very high upside.
Bailey is projected to go anywhere from the second to fourth round. I think the low end of that is a real possibility, due to Bailey’s current size and skill set. He’s now too small to hold up as a five-technique, but he doesn’t possess the adequate first step or pass rush repertoire of a 4-3 defensive end. I personally wouldn’t touch Bailey until the fifth or sixth (and not at all for 3-4 teams like Dallas).