Allen Bailey, DL, Miami
Senior, 6’4″, 285 lbs.
Boy are we in for a treat with Allen Bailey because he’s got not one, not two, but three games worth of cutups on youtube for our viewing pleasure. As for some background on Bailey, he’s got a Paul Bunyan like personal legend growing for himself.
Here’s the short version of his backstory: blah blah grew up in tiny Gullah town of Sapelo Island Georgia, blah blah had to row across a swamp to the mainland to play football, blah blah freakish natural abilities, blah blah stud MLB recruit in high school, blah blah once killed an Alligator with a shovel.
That’s the gist of it. It really is a fascinating life story. If you care to read more, check out this article by Mark Schlabach from 2007: Bailey focused on Alabama, Florida, and Miami. If not, on to the youtube videos:
vs. Wake Forest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQvcXWLQKyk&NR=1
In two of the games (FSU and GT), Bailey plays mostly inside as a three technique and he looks most comfortable in this position. In the Wake Forest game, Bailey clearly struggles a bit playing out on the TE in a seven and nine technique. Chalk it up to positional unfamiliarity. He’s been moved around at Miami so much that he’s never had a chance to find a home position. From an athletic standpoint, he’s clearly capable of playing DE in a 4-3. But I’d say he lacks the instincts and recognition skills to do it at this juncture. He’s probably a better fit in the interior at a three, four, and five technique in our scheme.
The first thing that jumps out at you from the videos is Bailey’s frame. He’s a taller, faster Brodrick Bunkley with even less body fat. He’s got a broad, barrel chest, big bubble, and thick legs. He has a condor-like wingspan which is one of the longest I’ve ever seen, and he’s got enormous hands that look like they could palm watermelons. Suffice it to say, he has a unique body type.
The second thing that jumps out from the videos is Bailey’s dominating speed and strength. I was able to pick up from those short clips that he’s got an elite first step and does a good job anticipating the snap count on occasion (watch him jump the snap at 1:30 in the FSU video). He can fire out of his stance incredibly fast and plays with great pad level and arm extension. However, he looks off on some of the snap counts and is too slow out of his stance, especially when we see how blazing fast he can be with the proper anticipation. I’ve worried before about his disappearing in games, and I think a failure to read his run/pass keys might be the culprit behind this as he takes himself out of plays when he doesn’t. Watch how Florida State runs the exact same running play twice in a row on him and he’s slow to fill the gap both times from hesitation. Bailey looks like he still has LB instincts. He’ll need to show this year that he’s settled into his role as a defensive lineman and make some strides in his recognition skills. Still I will say that he generally looks very good locating the ball in the backfield, and he made some really nice heads-up plays against a tricky GT running offense. I think it’s only a matter of time and repetition before he develops the awareness to consistently make an impact at his position.
However, when Bailey is on, he’s dominating. He’s got heavy hands and uses them well to sort through blocks. He is very good at stacking and shedding his blockers and he makes big linemen look impotent. He gives up no ground in the running game because he plays with such flexibility and base strength, and is capable of disengaging blocks at will most of the time (although he can struggle with this when asked to get up field). I believe he could be a phenomenal two gap run defender with some polish.
Bailey is an explosive tackler. I’m not sure I’ve seen a defensive lineman so good at making plays away from his frame except for Ndamukong Suh. And Bailey can break down in an instant in the open field and hit like a linebacker. He’s so incredibly strong, once he wraps up, ball carriers cannot break his tackles. He makes some plays with his hands and wingspan alone. He can also lay the wood when he gets a bead on a QB–he nearly flattened poor Riley Skinner. He looks fantastic in pursuit and he’s got sideline to sideline range… as a defensive tackle. I also love the heads-up way he protects his legs from cut blocks. His strength and balance are such that you never see him get taken off his feet. I’m pretty sure I watched a blocker in one of the videos try and crack him and Bailey just shrugged him off like a fly.
As far as pass rushing goes, I don’t think he’s got the ability to consistently bend the edge and use speed to loop wide to the QB. He has to use angles to get to the QB. Sometimes this leads him to break containment and opens up the cutback on his side for misdirection plays. It also leaves a lot of room for mobile QBs to run through once they escape the pocket. He’s got a terrifying bullrush, but aside from that, he doesn’t really have a repertoire of pass rushing moves. I want to see him develop his swat and rip moves more and show some counter moves. Lacking speed to threaten the edge is not a big deal though considering his position. He still manages to get good penetration on passing plays, especially if you project him as an end in a 3-4 front.
What he entails for the Redskins
I think he’s a great candidate to play end in our defense. Because of his versatility, he’d be able to play all of our downs in all of our formations. He can two gap and anchor against the run, stack and shed, play laterally, shoot gaps, stunt, drop into zones, and pass rush. Basically, if you can draw up a responsibility for a lineman, he could do it. I also wouldn’t hesitate to occasionally play him as a one technique. The key with Bailey will be patience. He’s a smart player with a wonderful attitude and a great work ethic, but he hasn’t had the time to develop like other prospects like Adrian Clayborn have. Bailey might have a quiet rookie year, but he’s the type of player that, in a few seasons, could blossom into an impact player much like Darrelle Revis did for the Jets.
There is no question that Bailey owns the highest ceiling of any of the 3-4 lineman in this year’s deep class. He’s a top 25 pick based on potential alone. He’s already put out some good tape and he’s shown flashes as a dominant run defender. Plus the tools are there for him to be a threatening pass rusher one day. I don’t know how much credence to put into his alleged 40 yard dash times. Apparently he ran a 4.6 at Miami once, but I don’t know if that was when he was at LB or DT weight. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s more likely to run in the 4.8-4.9 range now, which is still very fast. And even if he does nothing else but become a dominant two gap stack and shed run defender in our front, he’d be well worth our first round pick.
As of now, I still have to rank Bailey behind Adrian Clayborn as a potential five technique. But after giving him another look, I’m comfortable ranking Bailey ahead of Cameron Heyward and Marcel Dareus as the second best 3-4 DE in the class. Heyward is more hot and cold than Bailey and I see Dareus as a better fit for a three technique in a 4-3 front, or playing five technique in a one gapping, attacking front just like I did for Gerald McCoy last season. All in all, he’d be a vital addition to our defense, especially if Mr. Haynesworth gets moved.