The 2020 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. Purdue linebacker Markus Bailey was a great college linebacker, but his season ended with a knee injury. Even with the injury, he is a solid draft prospect who will be selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.
2019 stats: 14 total tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack (in two games)
Size: 6-foot-1, 240 pounds
Bailey was a captain on defense for Purdue and was looking to have a good fifth season for the Boilermakers before injuring his knee. He has since said that he will not seek a sixth year of eligibility and will prepare for the 2020 NFL Draft.
He played in three games in 2015 before tearing his ACL and redshirted. In 2016, his redshirt freshman season, he led the team with 97 total tackles. Bailey continued to be a leader on defense with 89 tackles as a sophomore and 115 as a junior. In his career, he finished with 324 total tackles, 14.5 sacks, six interceptions, six passes defended, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He has helped turn around the Purdue program, as the team won two games in his first year on campus, but has since gone to bowl games following the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The standout linebacker will have to prove he is healthy, as he had a few injuries in college. If he can do that, he will likely be selected in the middle of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Bailey will be targeted by NFL teams because of the versatility he showed at Purdue. He was a 4-3 outside linebacker, but he was asked to drop back in coverage, play the run and get after the passer. Bailey wasn’t the greatest at all three things, but has plenty of experience in all three areas.
He is a very intelligent player, which is his main advantage on the football field. Bailey has a great feel for where plays are going, which sets him up well. He can diagnose plays well and takes good routes to the football. His ability to make good reads could lead him to be a defensive leader if he can stay on the field in the pros.
His tackling is among the best of linebackers in the class. He has great form and drives the ball carrier to the ground. If he can get the offensive player within reach, he almost never lets him get outside of his reach. This helps him be a solid run defender.
Bailey isn’t a very athletic player and lacks speed. He made up for it in college with his instincts and smarts, but that will be harder to do at the NFL level. This will limit how many plays he can make and how he can be used by NFL teams. This may necessitate him being a two-down linebacker, which hurts his draft value. He can get around this if teams choose to have him rush the passer on third downs, but they likely have more polished pass rushers for that job.
While he has experience dropping in coverage in college, he should not be trusted to do so a lot at the NFL level. He was beaten a lot in college in both zone and man coverage. Bailey was successful in jamming slot receivers and tight ends, but he likely will not be able to cover some of the athletes at the next level very well.
When blocked, Bailey is inconsistent on how quickly he can disengage. Sometimes he can do it relatively quickly, but a lot of times it takes him a while to get free of the block. If that continues at the next level, along with his below-average speed, he will struggle to get to the quarterback and ball carriers.
Projected Draft Range: Third Round-Fifth Round