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Eagles UDFA Profile: Rasheed Bailey compares to Hakeem Nicks

An insider's perspective on one of the players the Eagles signed in undrafted free agency.


The Philadelphia Eagles signed a total of 16 players in undrafted free agency. The odds are stacked against them but at least a few of those rookies will have a real chance to make the final 53-man roster (or the practice squad). I thought it would be useful to acquire an insider's insight on one of the players: Delaware Valley wide receiver Rasheed Bailey. In order to learn even more about him, I reached out to Gordon Mann of He was kind enough to answer my questions.

1) What are his strengths?

Rasheed has the ability to make catches in very tight coverage and take the ball away from defenders. He can fight through defenders for the ball if it’s underthrown and has good concentration to pull down passes over his head if they are overthrown. As he became increasingly dominant last season, teams started to hit him before the ball arrived, figuring a penalty was better than a big gain since pass interference isn’t a spot foul in college football. Often it didn't matter. He’d absorb the contact and make the catch anyway.

I recently put together a CD of radio highlights for Rasheed and was reminded of one other facet to his game. He was good on special teams and blocked two punts in one game. I know Chip Kelly likes guys who can contribute on special teams so maybe Rasheed can make his mark there, in addition to his work as a receiver.

2) What are his weaknesses?

The level of competition he saw in Division III won’t compare to what he’ll see in the NFL. That’s true of all college players, but especially so for those who play in Division III. The conference where Delaware Valley plays (Middle Atlantic Conference) is above average for Division III, but not one of the elite conferences. ranked the MAC 12th of 27 conferences in 2014.

When I talked with Rasheed about his pre-draft experience, he said he learned that he has the skill and size to compete with receivers who played at higher levels of college football. I think that’s true, but the defenders will also be bigger, stronger and faster than he saw in Division III.

3) Were you surprised to see him go undrafted?

No, though I understand he worked out for several teams before the draft, and was contacted by some of them multiple times. So I knew there was legitimate interest in him and figured he’d sign an undrafted free agent contract very shortly after the draft ended.

It’s pretty rare for Division III football players to be drafted. There have only been 19 Division III players selected in the NFL draft since 1990. The highest draft selection ever was actually this year when Tampa Bay selected Ali Marpet in the second round. And while there’s no connection between Marpet and Bailey, it’s even more rare for two Division III guys to get selected in the same year.

Two players who have had solid NFL careers - Fred Jackson (Coe College) and London Fletcher (John Carroll) - were undrafted free agents.

Can you think of an NFL player he compares to? How do you see his NFL career playing out?

The player I've heard mentioned as a comparison is Hakeem Nicks. Bailey doesn’t have explosive speed to take the top off the defense, but his hands and physical strength will give him the chance to compete for a job as a possession receiver. Rasheed should compete for the slot role that Miles Austin or Josh Huff holds.

I like Rasheed a lot, as a player and a young man. He's one of the best receivers I've seen at the Division III level, which obviously has its limitations but did produce guys like Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts. I've love to see him find a place on an NFL roster, much like Bill Schroeder, who was another Division III guy who contributed at the NFL level for a while.


Thanks again to Gordon. Make sure to check out D3Football.

For additional reading on Bailey, check out this interesting Rotoviz article.

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