Zack Bailey, OL
School: South Carolina | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6-5 / 299 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 6th Round
NFL Comparison: David Bright
Zack Bailey was a 4-star recruit from Summerville, South Carolina. Bailey’s final two college choices came down to Clemson and South Carolina. In an interesting twist Bailey chose Carolina over the Tigers because they had a criminal justice program (the area of study he wanted to pursue) and Clemson did not. Bailey has been a constant and consistent part of the Carolina offensive line his entire college career. He is primarily a left guard but he also has some position versatility. His freshman season he played at center and left guard. His sophomore season he started every game at left guard. His junior season he started games at right tackle before returning to left guard during the 2018 season. Bailey was named to the All-SEC Second Team this past season. Bailey perhaps was in position to make a strong push for consideration in the middle rounds in this upcoming draft but unfortunately was injured late in the season. He broke his left fibula late in the season before Carolina’s Bowl game. He has had a good recovery so far. He was participating in practices for the East West Shrine game and participated in measurements and some athletic tests at the Combine. If Bailey is completely healthy by the end of the month or so and if he can improve his numbers at his pro day he could rise up draft boards again.
- Good size, physicality, and decent athleticism for the position.
- Bailey does a decent job of making initial contact and absorbing power and momentum by maintaining a wide base, decent leverage, and having decent footwork. Has a decent punch that creates space. He was aided by combo blocks a good amount but he also looked fine going one on one with some top defensive linemen in pass protection and as a run blocker. His frame makes it difficult for him to get run through.
- Looks decent athletically when he’s asked to pull, work to the second level or move in space. His physicality is on show in theses areas when he has momentum on his side. Can deliver some powerful blocks on the run and get his assignments on the ground.
- Has position versatility with experience playing center, right tackle, and left guard.
- Technique is all over the place and it is surprising how inconsistent his hand placement and hand use is. Its almost like he throws his body into his opponent when the ball is snapped then has to work overtime to maintain control because he didn’t engage properly in the first place. Will need NFL level coaching in this area and more to be able to see the field.
- Contact balance and overall control is below average. Once he throws his body into you he relies too much on his upper body and forgets his legs. Lunges and can whiff. If you were smart you would just push him aside. Some defensive lineman have figured this out and it makes him a liability particularly in pass protection. He has to pay more attention to technique and stop relying on his pure physicality to win it won’t work in the NFL. Too often pops upright and plays too high which also causes leverage and balance problems.
- Functional strength is just average. He needs to get stronger.
- Suffered a broken fibula in early December.
- Needs to add weight.
Let’s see his work (#78 LG):
One of the best angles I've seen taken to the 2nd level from Zack Bailey. I want more of this pic.twitter.com/DBjY6mXwK2— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) February 19, 2019
Love the power that is behind Zack Bailey. He has to find a way to become more controlled but this play is great because it just turns into a pile of bodies pic.twitter.com/UJRi0uBscP— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) February 19, 2019
South Carolina OG Zack Bailey plays the game the way it was meant to be played. Top 5 guard in the SEC entering 2017: pic.twitter.com/MpBmXaD2E9— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) March 2, 2017
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
Bailey is an interesting developmental offensive line option for the Redskins. He’s played several positions over the course of his career and could serve as important depth for any number of them especially left guard. Much like Martez Ivey of Florida it appears that Bailey arrived on campus as a highly rated recruit but just never developed the proper technique he should have at Carolina. The good news is that I think the vast majority of his issues are technique related and all of them can be solved with good coaching. It may take a few seasons but if his development goes as expected he could be a serviceable linemen at the NFL level. The same sentiment applies to his need to increase his functional strength it may take a couple seasons but it is more than possible. A lot will depend on his recover from his broken leg but if he can do some athletic testing at his pro day, and test well, it would go a long way for him. Bailey likely won’t develop into a great athletic versatile lineman that and perform well wherever he’s placed but he could develop into a power/phone booth/mauler type guard (think what Arie Kouandijo was supposed to be) and that could be good enough to bail the team out of a tough spot when they really need it.