NFL Draft

2020 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Purdue LB Markus Bailey

From now until the 2020 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

#21 Markus Bailey/LB/Purdue/6’0”, 235 Lbs

The Good

-Quick processor and diagnoses quickly
-Aggressive defender with a hot motor
-Wide tackle radius and is a consistent tackler in space
-Packs a punch as a tackler
-Productive, consistent defender throughout career
-Good, quick punch to stay clean against climbing OL
-Flashes ability to provide solid rush reps from a number of formations
-Very comfortable in man or zone; can carry up the seam
-Surprisingly good ball skills 

The Bad

-Significant injury red flags; two torn ACLs that ended two separate seasons
-Limited in change of direction; slow lateral pursuit overall
-Not overly explosive and won’t wow you with range
-Stiff in movement on tape; labored at times
-Pad level can be a bit high throughout games 


-Voted team co-captain in 2019
-Torn ACLs ended his 2019 and 2015 seasons early
-Academic All-Big Ten all four years at Purdue
-Played in 45 career games at Purdue, starting 26
-Finished career with 327 total tackles, 28.0 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, six interceptions, 13 pass deflections, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery
-Invited to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, where he had his measurables taken and participated in the bench press, recording 15 reps

Tape Breakdown

It’s truly a shame that Purdue inside linebacker Markus Bailey has such glaring injury red flags, because his tape is so darn good.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I popped on Bailey’s tape, but I came away impressed with his production, ability to diagnose quickly, and his insane ball skills for a linebacker.

It’s hard to overlook two torn ACLs in college though, especially for a redshirt-senior who will be an “old” rookie in this draft class.

That said, he’s definitely worth a draft pick in a loaded draft class.


Bailey is really good against the run, reacting quickly to get on the move, outrunning blockers to the hole. Watch the quick punch and the fill back inside on the outside zone run, making the stop against Nebraska in 2018.


He’s just so strong against the run. I love his pad level here on this rep, and the initial punch and extension to stay clean. He slips under this block to make a strong stick on the Nebraska running back.


That said, he does have some bad run reps on tape.

I like the initial contact with the Nebraska tight end here, but Bailey throws it all away by spinning and turning his back to the ball carrier and the blocker, taking himself out of the play.

In coverage, Bailey shows some comfort in man and zone, and has some really good ball skills.


Look at him jump all over this late throw to the boundary. He plucks this ball out of the air with ease and then has some good speed to nearly take this to the house.


He carries the receiver really well up the seam on this rep. While the ball is severely underthrown, he does a great job staying in phase and has the awareness and ball skills to turn around and make the play through contact.

Overall, I am worried about Bailey’s long-term health with his multiple knee issues, but he has some really strong tape and a ton of production. He shows some good traits playing the run and has shown over the years he can get by as an adequate coverage option.

All that said, I think he’s ticketed for a backup role and a special teams star, barring health.

Projection: Late Day 3

Games Watched: Nebraska (2018), Indiana (2018), Ohio State (2018), Nevada (2019)


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