It is no secret that the Eagles need a starting safety (or two). The talent in the secondary is easily upgradable and the draft may be the best opportunity for the Eagles to add talent to the safety position. A prospect of interest for fans and possibly the team is USC safety Dion Bailey.
A serious prep star on the football field, Bailey committed to USC in 2010. As a freshman, Bailey redshirted in his first year with the Trojans. In his first year of action, Bailey moved from safety to SAM linebacker. He appeared in 12 games (11 starts) and produced 81 tackles, two sacks, two pass breakups, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
Bailey continued to play linebacker as a redshirt sophomore. He started all 13 games in 2012 and had 80 tackles (eight tackles for loss), one sack, five pass breakups, four interceptions and a forced fumble. His four interceptions led the team and were tied for second most by a linebacker in the nation.
Bailey converted back to safety as a redshirt junior. He collected 61 tackles, five interceptions, and six pass breakups in his final year with the Trojans. He was named an All-Pac-12 second team selection for his efforts.
Weight: 201 lbs
Arm Length: 32"
Hands: 9 1/2"
40: 4.66 seconds
Broad Jump: 113.0 inches
Vertical Jump: 34.0 inches
3 Cone: 6.97 seconds
Shuttle: 4.15 seconds
Bailey has a big body for safety position. Even at safety, Bailey plays and looks like a linebacker. He was used a lot on blitzes and was reasonably successful at it. He has experience in coverage as both a linebacker and a safety. He uses his size well to breakup passes and bring down bigger wide receivers and running backs. He is solid in the redzone in coverage and has long arms to shield offensive players from catches.
Bailey's instincts are kind of everywhere. He uses poor technique on tackles and is a bit slow with play recognition. He holds in coverage and can be a bit dramatic in coverage and against the run, which can lead to missed plays. He is still clearly learning how to play safety at a high level and needs better coaching.
While he has experience in coverage, he is just okay at it. He is likely destined for the box.
As far as the Eagles are concerned, if they can find a talented safety, they should pounce. Bailey needs work, there is no doubt about it, but he could be of value as a third safety as a rookie. The Eagles could go with a safety in the first round and double dip with one in the third or fourth round, which seems appropriate for Bailey. He is a tweener if there ever was one, but he is a solid athlete and has the natural ability to excel at the next level.
Trust Your Own Eyes
In respect to NFL free agency, we will be taking a break from draft profiles for the rest of the week. Happy hunting, Eagles fans!