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 steelers.com. “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.