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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: JaQuan Bailey, DE, Iowa State

How does Bailey fit in the Colts’ defensive end room?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 31 Iowa State at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A fan-favorite series is coming back to the site as it is officially prospect interview season. For anybody new to the site or for people who need a reminder, every draft season I sit down with prospects that are going to be in the upcoming NFL Draft to talk with them about their off-field accomplishments and some film aspects on the field. While I don’t always talk to star players, I have been able to talk to a few players who eventually ended up with the Colts such as Khari Willis, Marvell Tell III, and Rock Ya-Sin.

Our next prospect interview is with Iowa State defensive end JaQuan Bailey. We had a great conversation about his favorite pass rush move off the edge, his historic career at Iowa State, and what he will bring to an NFL team.


Background Info

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 246 pounds

40 Time (Pro Day): 4.81 seconds

Vertical Jump: 26.5 inches

Bench Reps: 19

Class: Senior

JaQuan Bailey was a three star recruit out of Raines High School in Jacksonville, Florida. He was thrown into the fire early in his career, as he played in all 12 games as a Freshman and logged 23 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He remained a steady force on the Iowa State defensive line throughout his career, as he led the team in sacks every year of his career outside of his Senior season. He finished his career with the most career sacks in Iowa State history. His total numbers for his career were 150 tackles, 44 tackles for a loss, 25 sacks, 13 pass deflections, and 4 forced fumbles.

Bailey also served as a Team Captain in 2020 as well as being invited to the East-West Shrine Game.

ZH: You leave Iowa State as their all time leader in sacks. What does it mean to you to always be a part of history there?

JB: I’m just grateful for the most part. I’m just happy that I left my position room better than where it was when I arrived at Iowa State. Honestly, I want to see all of my records broken so Iowa State can continue to get their respect and acknowledgement that they deserve. Iowa State has some of the best fans in the whole world and they deserve to see success.

ZH: It feels like every single year you got better, as you climbed up All-Big 12 Teams and sacks in every year. What was the key for you in getting better each season?

JB: The key was never getting complacent and always getting better. I was always trying to learn more and more in every offseason and it translated to the football field in each season.


ZH: Your strong hands and power stand out in your game. Is that something you worked on or more natural ability?

JB: I’d say both. It is a natural ability but it was something that I really worked on and refined throughout my career at Iowa State.

ZH: What would you say is the most important aspect to rushing the passer?

JB: Get-off. Especially with edge rushers and defensive linemen in general, I would say that get-off. If an undersized guy can get off the ball faster, he has a better chance of success than a bigger guy who gets off the line slower. I was always taught that leverage was the most important thing in football so getting off the ball quickly and getting that leverage is something I pride myself in.

ZH: Get-off can be obtained in a few ways, from working on explosiveness to timing snaps. How do you approach get-off?

JB: All of it really. From working on explosiveness and timing snaps, it is all really important to work on to have that good get-off.

Go-To Pass Rush Move

ZH: I noticed in a few interviews that you like to use that long arm move. Is that your go-to move?

JB: Yeah I’d say so. If I am able to get inside of a tackle’s chest faster than he is able to get inside of mine, then I’ve already won half of the battle.

ZH: The long arm is nice because you can set up other moves off of it. What counters have you been working on with the long arm?

JB: Just depending on how the tackle plays me, I can club on the outside, I can club-rip, I can spin inside (which is something I wasn’t really allowed to do at Iowa State)... You can do multiple moves off of it. I could do a speed-bull, long arm to swipe.. there are just so many other moves and counters to work off of it.

NFL Outlook

ZH: What is my team getting if they spend a draft pick on JaQuan Bailey?

JB: You are just getting a player who is going to come to work each and every day. You are getting a player who has no off the field problems and you are getting just a football player. A guy who is willing to do it all just to win games, man.

Final Thoughts

Bailey is an interesting player in this draft class. While his Pro Day wasn’t anything great, he had an outstanding career at Iowa State and has some solid film over the years. I don’t think the Colts will ultimately be the team he ends up with but he is certainly a guy I am rooting for at the next level.