The Cowboys have a knack for using draft picks on linebackers, and a lot of the linebackers have come with some pre-draft injury flags. From Sean Lee to Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys have a history of getting excellent value on linebackers who have dropped due to an injury.
Markus Bailey out of Purdue could be the 2020 version of just this.
Name: Markus Bailey
Class: RS Senior
Fast, physical, and instinctive are three of the words to use when watching Markus Bailey at Purdue. From his tackling style to his plays in coverage, Bailey has a knack for being around the football, and always brings it at 100%. He showed impressive boundary-to-boundary tackling range at Purdue playing both as an inside linebacker, and outside linebacker. Made plays sideline-to-sideline you wouldn’t think a bigger backer would be able to make. Good tackling technique when it comes to squaring up into gaps, shooting gaps, and in the open field. Had reps as a very good man-to-man cover backer.
Listen to BTB’s interview with Markus Bailey on the latest episode of Talkin’ The Draft!
Had an incredible interception against Indiana in 2016 covering a tight end up the seam. Very good hands for a linebacker, taking advantage of opportunities to take away the football. Instincts pop off the tape as Bailey always seems to be in the right spots at the right times. Read blockers leverage well, and is able to make plays on ball carriers with blockers in his path. Work ethic and leadership qualities are off the charts. He will absolutely dominate the combine interview process. Was used on the blitz on a high percentage of snaps, showing good feel for rush lanes, and timing as a blitzer.
Will have plenty of questions regarding the health of his knees. Tore both ACL’s throughout his career at Purdue. Was unable to play at all in 2019 due to an ACL tear. Lacks the ideal length for the position, so could play as a WILL at the next level to be kept clean. Showed signs of struggling to get off blocks due to lack of ideal length. Isn’t an overly twitched up athlete, he gets the job done fine, but could stand to gain some explosiveness in this area.
Without the injury concerns, Markus Bailey would likely be receiving a bit more buzz leading up to the draft. Showcasing impressive skills as a tackler, blitzer, and coverage guy, Bailey has the ability to be a three-down linebacker at next level. Had some of his best games at Purdue against some of the toughest competition he faced. May not be the freak athlete that some teams want at the position, but should have no issues finding a role as a MIKE linebacker with some WILL flexibility in the NFL. Will likely fit more with even front teams where he’s not asked to use his athleticism as much in space. A perfect day three candidate for the Cowboys, whose latest ACL surgery was done by the Cowboys team doctor, Dr. Cooper.
Do not sleep on #21 Markus Bailey. Missed most of 2019 with an injury, but his 2017-2018 tape is awesome. Had some of his best games against better competition too. pic.twitter.com/ka0GKmFedc— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 7, 2020
This is incredible stuff from Bailey pre-snap. Recognizes the check at the line, and gets the defense into the right call. Makes the tackle on the play when Haskins has nowhere to go with the football. pic.twitter.com/4HOPsjPrJp— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 7, 2020
Bailey #21 can play both inside and outside, and has no issues getting off blocks, is an effective blitzer, and very good in coverage. Even with the injury, I wouldn't hesitate to draft him on day two. pic.twitter.com/jAYDmMuMzA— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 7, 2020
Markus Bailey #21 blowing up the center, while still making a play on the RB in the screen game. Special stuff here. pic.twitter.com/WgCGKVlC95— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 7, 2020
the amount of ground Bailey covers here is whewwwww. pic.twitter.com/wWIxvCmLNb— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 7, 2020
Markus Bailey told me today that he had great hands, not just for a linebacker, but for a football player in general. "ask anyone on the Purdue team, they'll tell you I have great hands."— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 7, 2020
Had four picks in RS Freshman year, one in RS Sophomore, one in RS Junior. Playmaker. pic.twitter.com/56pDGbCdMY