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NFL Draft

JaQuan Bailey: 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview Series

  • The Draft Network
  • March 5, 2021
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This year’s edge class may lack a generational talent at the top, but there are plenty of great pass rushers with the potential to make a huge impact at the next level. If you’re compiling a list of diamond-in-the-rough prospects that can get after the quarterback, Iowa State’s JaQuan Bailey needs to be on that list.

An ascending prospect that had his best season in 2020,  Bailey recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about how he bounced back from an injury, what makes him a successful pass rusher, and why the Big 12 has the best offensive tackles in the nation.

JM: You returned for the 2020 season after securing a medical red-shirt year in 2019 after a leg injury cost you the majority of the year. It proved to be the right decision. You had a terrific campaign in 2020. You recorded 13 tackles for loss and seven sacks. How do you look back on your season?

JB: The year was a huge blessing for me. I had a lot of fun. It felt great to be back in action. I worked so hard to come back from the injury. I feel like I established myself all over again.

JM: You have great size at 6-foot-2 and 261 pounds. What do you feel are your best assets as a player?

JB: I’m a team-first player. The team always comes first. I’m a pass rusher at heart. I also feel great about my ability to stop the run.

JM: What are some areas of your game that are still improving?

JB: I have room to grow in every area of my game. I can become a better pass rusher. My knowledge of the game has to be better, my technique has to be better. I have room to grow physically. I’m not satisfied with any aspects of my game.

JM: I respect your attitude. What’s your favorite part of playing the defensive end position?

JB: I just love to make plays. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to give my team the upper hand.

JM: When it comes to playing with your hand in the dirt or in a stand-up role, which have you been exposed to more and which are you most comfortable with?

JB: I’ve been exposed to both, but I wasn’t asked to play many reps in a two-point stance. I feel comfortable with both. It doesn’t really matter to me. I played most of my reps in a three-point stance because we were a three-down team.

JM: Tell me a little about your pass rush arsenal. What are some of your go-to moves?

JB: The stab is a big part of my arsenal, as is the two-hand swipe. I use a speed rush, I can convert speed-to-power. I try to use a little bit of everything. It’s important for me to keep an offensive tackle guessing. I can’t get predictable with my rush plan.

JM: That’s great. What’s the biggest lesson any coach at Iowa State ever taught you?

JB: Our coaches were never satisfied. They always preached that we still had work to do. There’s always an area you can get better in. It doesn’t matter how many sacks I had, I can always get one more. I could always take my game to another level.

JM: I love that. Who were some of the best offensive linemen you went up against throughout your time at Iowa State?

JB: I don’t mean to disrespect anybody, but I always felt like The Big 12 had the best offensive tackles in the nation. Every team we played had at least one great offensive lineman. Teams like Oklahoma, Kansas, Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Kansas State, they all had great offensive linemen. The Big 12 is a great conference to play in as a defensive lineman because you’re going up against excellent competition on a weekly basis.

JM: I’ve really appreciated your time today, JaQuan. In closing, why should an NFL team use one of their draft picks on JaQuan Bailey?

JB: JaQuan Bailey is a team-first player that’s willing to do whatever it takes to win. I just want to help the team. If you want me to play special teams, I’m happy to do it. I can rush the passer, I can stop the run. I can go plug a hole. It doesn’t matter to me. I can drop back into the flats or the curls as well. I’m a football player at the end of the day. I bring my hard hat to work every day. That’s just who I am.

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