STRENGTHS - Tough and fearless, Bailey shows no hesitation catching passes as he heads into traffic. He has strong hands and great focus which helps him to pluck ball away from ball and holds onto it while defender tries to rip ball out of his hands. He shows toughness taking hard hit after the catch and holding onto the ball. Whether catching a quick "bubble screen" behind the LOS or a pass on an "out" route, Bailey is quick getting started up the field after the catch. He can change directions fast, which gives him a "wiggle" to make tacklers miss and combined with his strength and balance he is consistently able to gain yards after contact. His quick COD ability, use of hands and surprising strength make it look easy for Bailey to "shake" and defeat jam to release quickly off the LOS. Able to make great catches over and over, Bailey's outstanding hands made him a reliable go-to-receiver for Geno Smith. Despite lacking great size, Bailey consistently impresses with his ability to shield cornerback and make tough catch while he tries to break up pass. Smart and aware, Bailey consistently knows where the first down marker is and gets beyond it to make catch in key situations.
WEAKNESSES - Quicker than fast, Bailey lacks the burst and speed to get separation on deep routes. Even when he gets past initial defender and has space he lacks the speed to out-run angles and score long TD's. Although he is quick and runs sharp/precise routes, he did not consistently show the burst out of cuts to get separation from coverage. While he has good strength for his size, he is still only 5'10 and will not be able to play as strong versus bigger, stronger NFL cornerbacks.
SUMMARY - Tavon Austin may be the big name play-making receiver from West Virginia in the Draft, but Bailey was a highly productive receiver whose sharp routes, strong hands and agility give him the talent to be a productive slot receiver in the NFL. Bailey impressed with his ability to defeat jam with ease despite lacking the size and long arms usually needed to do so. Although Bailey struggled to consistently gain separation from man coverage in the games evaluated, I was constantly impressed by his ability to make tough catches with a defender draped all over him trying to break up pass. Against "zone" coverage Bailey was consistently productive as he identified it and found the open/dead spot and sat down in it. Overall, Bailey does not have the physical talent to be the play-maker in the NFL that Tavon Austin will be, which is why he does not warrant being a first round pick. However, he is a smart receiver, who runs sharp routes, knows how to get open, has rare hands (He caught 94% of passes thrown his way in games evaluated) and is a good runner after the catch, which is why he warrants being selected in the second round.