Sterling Bailey wasn’t the most heralded recruit to step foot on the University of Georgia campus. A three-star prospect by most recruiting, Bailey slowly but surely garnered playing time and eventually became a starter and a valued member of the Bulldog defense. In his senior season at Georgia, Bailey recorded 46 tackles, two TFLs, and one sack.
Looking ahead to the next level, Bailey is viewed as either a late round selection or an undrafted free agent. NFL scouts are unimpressed with his edge rush capabilities and his ability to get after the quarterback. This shouldn’t come as a shock to Georgia fans, who witnessed firsthand Bailey’s mere 2.5 career sacks.
However, Bailey does offer NFL teams a quality run stopper. His 6’4" 285 lbs. frame gives NFL defensive coordinators something to work with right off the bat, and his 20 bench reps at 225 lbs. on Georgia’s Pro Day confirms his power in the trenches.
On top of his size and power, Bailey also has the intangibles required to succeed at the highest level. Former Georgia coach Mark Richt (not going to lie, still feels weird saying that) named him a team captain in four games in 2015, and Bailey also received a Coach’s Leadership Award at the annual postseason gala.
Although he is a borderline draft pick, I think Bailey should and will hear his name called this weekend at the NFL Draft. A team who needs a run-stuffing defensive end, most likely in a 3-4 base defense, could grab Bailey late and allow him time to develop into a productive member of the defensive line, essentially replicating his UGA career trajectory.