USC S Dion Bailey Feels His Game Resembles That Of Steelers S Troy Polamalu

USC safety Dion Bailey has a lot in common with Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu as not only did he play his college ball at the future Hall-of-Famer’s alma mater, he also played some linebacker there as well.

During his time in Indianapolis for the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, Bailey talked about how he patterns his game after Polamalu’s.

“I feel like my game resembles Troy Polamalu’s game very well,” Bailey said, according to “He went through the same transition in college as me, playing linebacker his first couple years and then playing safety. He transitioned to the NFL really well. I’m hoping I have the same career.”

Bailey, who recorded 222 total tackles (16.5 for losses) and 11 interceptions in 38 games played during his USC career, also has another link to the Steelers as defensive backs coach Carnell Lake tried to recruit him to go to UCLA where he coached the defensive backs for one season. Bailey said he remembers Lake well.

“Definitely. Coach Lake, he recruited me when he was the DB coach at UCLA when I was coming out,” he said. “Me and him have a very strong relationship. Then he was at pro day last year. He led the DB drills, so I talked to him for about an hour and he was giving me advice about what to expect making the transition (to safety) and what I needed to do. It’s going to be fun to catch up with him.”

During the combine, Bailey, who measured in at just under 6 foot tall, ran the 40-yard dash in a slowish 4.66 seconds. He also posted a vertical jump of 34 inches and timed well in both the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drills when compared to the other safeties. As a means of comparison, Polamalu, who was unable to participate in drills at the 2003 NFL Scouting Combine due to injury, reportedly ran the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day in under 4.4 seconds. In addition, his best vertical jump was 43.5 inches.

Being as the Steelers drafted Shamarko Thomas last year, Bailey doesn’t necessarily fit the Steelers needs unless he can prove he can play the deep part of the field as opposed to playing in the box like he did most of the time at USC. That being said, they reportedly did meet with him at the combine last week.

  • James Kling

    Polamalu he’s not, but he’s a guy I’d look at ~ R3.

  • R3? Not me.

  • steeltown

    If he’s still there in Rd4 you have to consider him

  • pat

    What you guys think, if Jags draft Clowney and there is a QB sitting at 15 thats worth it we trade them for 2nd 3rd and the next 2 yrs 1st round picks

  • Which is the main reason I would not look to long at him….I just feel like there are going to be too many quality players still there that would fill more of a need for us even in rd4….I would rather look at a FS if we didn’t already draft one our a 2nd CB if we didn’t already draft 2 by that time than Bailey.

  • Patrick Reid

    Not a fan. Looks soft on tape. Hopefully, we go after Buchannon in the second.

  • I would love that! Especially with this years depth….I think a really good player would still be there at the beginning of the 2nd…and to have the sorry Jags 1st rd picks for 2 yrs in a row. I just don’t see them mortgaging their future like that for any of these QBs

  • joed32

    For one thing we don’t have a 3rd and for another thing nobody is worth 3 1s a 2 and a 3.

  • Ike Evans

    Round 3 or round 4? .you fellas better review that tape again…Dion Bailey may not get out of the second round

  • pat

    Never said anything about us having a 3rd

  • Maybe so I cant speak for everyone but I think he is a 3rd pick that may get pushed into the 2nd bc of a teams need….but either way I think we have other important needs than SS and I feel there will be too many good players in the 3rd and 4th for that matter that fits our needs more

  • joed32

    Sorry, I read the post to say “we trade them for 2nd 3rd and the next 2 yrs 1st round picks”. Did you mean that we get a 2nd and 3rd? Still wouldn’t give 3 1s for anybody in the draft.

  • chris ward

    Wow, Troy had a 43.5 vertical jump, that is extremely athletic.

  • falconsaftey43

    Can someone please explain to me why Shamarko can’t play FS and therefore we have to take a FS since he is a SS?
    Not saying it’s not so, I just don’t get it.
    First why can’t Shark play FS. He is 5’9″ 213 lbs, 31.5″ arms and runs 4.42 with 133″ broad jump. Earl Thomas, the best FS in the league is 5’10” 210 lbs, 31.75″ arms and runs 4.43 with 113″ broad jump. That’s almost identical, so I see nothing athletically that prevents him from being a FS.
    A FS essentially patrols the deep part of the field in zone and come down to stop perimeter runs and make sure any long plays don’t score. That’s what Clark has done for so long. He doesn’t match up in man coverage on a TE hardly ever, that’s always been Troy’s job. Shark is actually very good at man coverage, but does give up the height to TEs, but again it’s not something Clark ever really did.
    Can someone please help me out here?

  • falconsaftey43

    The other problem I have with this is this. Assuming Shamarko is a SS only, why should that stop them from drafting another SS? This team needs good players period. I get so fed up with this argument. The team has no depth, you have to take the talented player even if it doesn’t perfectly fit what you’d want. This comes up so many times.
    WR: The Steelers need a big WR. No they need a GOOD WR. it’d be great if he was big and brought a different skill set to the table, but first and foremost he has to be GOOD. I’d take the smaller better guy any day over someone just because they are big.
    ILB: The Steelers need a Buck ILB (assuming you’re not sold on Williams). The reason thrown out behind this one is always that Timmons is the Mack so you need a Buck beside him. Ok ask yourself this, would you take two Timmons right now if you had the change? YES! Because even though that would give you too “Mack” backers, it would be down right dominate. What they need is a GOOD ILB, not one that fits into a specific niche. I don’t care what makes him good, so long as he is good.
    Safety: see above.
    Very good teams can afford to draft to fill niches. Average teams with no depth have to take talent, period. Don’t look past Bailey because he might be a SS. Don’t look past Odell Beckam Jr because he’s 5’11”. Don’t look past Shazier or because he is a smaller Mack ILB.
    Sorry for the rant, this just really bugs me.

  • pat

    Didnt the Redskins do it but it was for a talented player the main thing I was trying to see is if the offer is right would we trade completely out of this yrs 1st

  • SteelersDepot

    Quite simple, because you play to player’s strengths. Will Shamarko be able to play more of a center field role – traditional free safety per-say? Maybe, but let’s be honest, we haven’t seen it yet at the NFL level and from what I saw, he didn’t do it much at Syracuse, either. Lawrence Timmons was originally drafted to be an outside linebacker, if you believe Tomlin after that draft. How did that turn out? Not good. Remember when he had to play outside when Harrison went down? That wasn’t pretty. People seem to think that players can flip all over the place at the NFL level, but that just isn’t how it works. Look at Jason Worilds. Just because he can play outside linebacker doesn’t mean he can play it well on both sides. His success has come on the left side. as far as the buck and mack go, Butler put it best, those two positions are really blurred now thanks to the fullback not being so prevalent. With the Steelers and their safeties, yes, they would like that do be blurred as well, but if you do that, you have to have players that can play both spots well. If you don’t, you will get exploited. Let’s not compare Shamarko to Thomas just yet as it is unfair to both players. With Bailey, you can clearly see that he is better in the box.

  • falconsaftey43

    To be honest we haven’t seen shamarko do anything yet at the NFL level besides special teams. His skill set seems well suited to FS, but he does have to prove it on the field. Of course any draft pick will have to prove it too. Just as an example, if you think Bailey is a very good strong safety, then take him. Don’t pass him up just because you have a guy on the roster you think might be a SS. Established, talented, good teams can look for specific roles/skills. Average to bad teams, which the Steelers are, have to take the guy with the most talent, not the one with the skill set you need most. This team needs talent across the board, just take the best guy. Anything but QB should really be on the table. There are multiple positions without quality starters, and almost none have a decent backup.

  • steelster

    you are dreaming, why would the jags do that for who ? Derek carr

  • moonunit1

    I think Shamarko is seen as a SS mostly because of his ability to turn and run with WRs in the slot, as well as RBs, and his size (weight not height), and aggressiveness supporting the run, moreso than an inability to play centerfield. I just think his strengths are to play intermediate and attack the line. That doesn’t mean he might not be our best option in centerfield as well this year, but I assume we re-sign Will Allen. Ryan Clark was so bad last year, that 2014 Will Allen could be an improvement.