LB Markus Bailey, Purdue

6’1” – 235 lbs.

Appeared in three games before sustaining a season-ending knee injury in 2015, then took over a full-time starting job the following year, finishing with a line of 97-6.0-0.0 and four interceptions. Followed that up with 89-11.0-7.0 as a sophomore and 115-9.0-6.5 as a junior, but sustained another season-ending knee injury in practice two games into his senior campaign, a year in which he was a co-captain. Has adequate size for a pro linebacker, although it’s on the lower end of what teams look for.

Racked up a ton of tackles over his three seasons as a starter and always seems to be around the football when defending the run. Reads keys quickly and doesn’t take many wasted steps when flowing toward the ball. Active with his hands and does a good job of using technique to slip blockers and work through traffic. Doesn’t offer the widest tackling radius but is a physical linebacker who breaks down well and uses appropriate wrap tackling technique to bring down ballcarriers. Shows a good motor to chase toward the sidelines and was capable of making some tackles near the boundaries. However, athleticism is not quite what you’d hope for on the weakside; was able to make a lot of plays because of his overall instincts/awareness and efficient angles in pursuit, but may have to slide inside at the next level to mask his lack of ideal speed and explosiveness.

Would often shade over receivers on passing downs, usually working in zone coverage. Looks light on his feet when making drops into coverage, although his actual form looks a little bit awkward at times. Appropriately conservative when the play is in front of him but struggles to turn and run with opponents when pattern-matching. Does a pretty good job of sniffing out screens and fighting through traffic to get himself into position to make a tackle. May struggle to work in man coverage against opposing backs, receivers, and tight ends at the pro level. Enjoyed some production rushing the passer as a junior but isn’t someone who will probably be asked to play on the edge much at the pro level.

A great college played who has the type of production, leadership qualities, and smarts to get drafted, but whose role may be more limited at the pro level to mask his average athleticism. If his medical evaluations went well at the Combine, looks like a mid-round pick who could endear himself to a pro coaching staff.

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