Once or twice per draft season I become so infatuated with a small-school prospect that I can’t help but write about them.
In 2013, it was Charles Johnson, who has since enjoyed a mini-breakthrough with the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. Earlier this year, it was Terrell Watson, who continues to be the best RB prospect you’ve never heard of. Today, I’d like you to meet Rasheed Bailey, my favorite small school WR for 2015.
Who in the heck is Rasheed Bailey?
Bailey is a 6’2 209 pound wide receiver for Delaware Valley College (DVC), which is a DIII school located just north of Philadelphia. Following up on a referral from Justin Higdon, I was astonished to learn that in his 2014 season Bailey accounted for 1,707 yards and 19 touchdowns in 11 games. For as impressive as the raw stats are, his performance is even more amazing when you consider he caught 52.8 percent of DVC’s receiving yards and 61.3 percent of receiving touchdowns. Over the course of 132 targets, he averaged 12.9 yards per target (YPT), which is an otherworldly figure, and converted 35.3 percent of his red zone targets into touchdowns. In summary, he passes the Eric Decker test with flying colors. Oh, and he played his 2014 season at age 21.4, which is rock solid.
But before you write him off as a one-hit, small-school wonder, consider that Bailey also went berserk in his 2013 season at age 20. For that year, he accounted for 40.7 percent of yards and 47 percent of touchdowns while also boasting an impressive 11 yards per target. In case I’m not laying on the praise thick enough, consider that over his final two seasons (22 games) he averaged the following:
- 6 catches
- 122 yards
- 1.2 touchdowns
For perspective, Amari Cooper averaged 123 & 1.1 for his 2014 Heisman-finalist campaign. Bailey maintained that rate for two years. No, Bailey isn’t Cooper, but you get the idea.
- 47.6 percent of receiving yards
- 56.3 percent of receiving touchdowns
- 12.1 yards per target
- converted 34.4 percent of red zone targets into touchdowns
What is so special about his 2014 season?
To average 12.9 yards per target on 132 targets is utterly ridiculous. To help create a comparison group for how dominant his 2014 was, I filtered through more than 8,000 FBS receiver seasons to find guys who caught 30 percent of touchdowns and 30 percent of receiving yards, while also boasting at least 11.5 YPT on at least 60 targets. That list included 35 seasons and can be seen below. Full disclosure, I understand that comparing a D3 receiver to FBS guys is problematic, but I’m doing it for two reasons:
1) I can’t readily access market share and target stats for small-school receivers,
2) Even if I could pull that small-school list, I’m not sure any of the names would be helpful in understanding what kind of playmaking ability Bailey has.
(Sorted by weight)
|TRGNAME||WT||SCHOOL||Year||SEAS Age||RC Yds||RC TD||msYDS||TRGS||YPT|
|MIKE EVANS||231||Texas A&M||2013||20.4||1394||12||30.4||99||14.1|
|DEMARYIUS THOMAS||224||Georgia Tech||2009||22.0||1154||8||65.1||81||14.2|
|DEZ BRYANT||224||Oklahoma State||2008||20.2||1480||19||47.0||126||11.7|
|ADARIUS BOWMAN||223||Oklahoma State||2006||21.5||1181||12||45.0||93||12.7|
|MICHAEL FLOYD||220||Notre Dame||2009||20.1||795||9||33.5||68||11.7|
|JARRETT BOYKIN||217||Virginia Tech||2009||20.2||835||5||34.4||65||12.6|
|HAKEEM NICKS||212||North Carolina||2008||21.0||1222||12||47.3||105||11.6|
|RASHEED BAILEY||209||Del Valley||2014||21.4||1707||19||52.8||132||12.9|
|D'JUAN WOODS||208||Oklahoma State||2005||21.6||879||8||46.8||75||11.7|
|JUSTIN BLACKMON||207||Oklahoma State||2010||21.0||1782||20||42.4||148||12.0|
|GOLDEN TATE||199||Notre Dame||2008||20.4||1080||10||33.9||92||11.7|
|ODELL BECKHAM JR.||198||LSU||2013||21.2||1117||8||35.3||90||12.8|
|NAJAH PRUDEN||188||Kent State||2006||23.0||808||6||41.3||70||11.5|
|VINCENT BROWN||187||San Diego State||2010||21.9||1352||10||35.2||105||12.9|
|CHANDLER JONES||183||San Jose State||2013||22.1||1356||15||31.7||112||12.1|
|TY HILTON||183||Florida International||2008||19.1||1013||7||38.7||69||14.7|
|DANE SANZENBACHER||182||Ohio State||2010||22.2||948||11||31.9||78||12.2|
|JALEN SAUNDERS||163||Fresno State||2011||19.2||1065||12||30.1||75||14.2|
If that was too many numbers for you, the highlight names were: Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Mike Evans, Hakeem Nicks, Amari Cooper, Odell Beckham Jr., Desean Jackson, TY Hilton, Golden Tate, Kendall Wright and Justin Blackmon. To be clear, I’m not saying Bailey will have an NFL career like any of them (or that he’ll ever play a snap in the NFL), it’s just that he is the kind of playmaker for his offense that those guys were for their college offenses.
Who does he compare to physically?
If we filter out that last table to only include players within 10lbs of Bailey, we get the following cohort. Note that the information included for Bailey was acquired via email exchange with him. To guard against embellishment, I’ve added 0.1 seconds to his forty time and agility time. If he ends up beating them, great, but I think, even with these estimates, you’ll be surprised how well he fits into this cohort.
|TRGNAME||SCHOOL||F Age||WT||40||Vert||Broad||3 cone|
|HAKEEM NICKS||North Carolina||21.0||212||4.51||36||120||6.96|
|GOLDEN TATE||Notre Dame||21.4||199||4.42||35||120||7.12|
|RASHEED BAILEY||Del Valley||21.4||209||4.55||34||120||6.90|
|JUSTIN BLACKMON||Oklahoma State||22.0||207||4.46||35||123||7.13|
|JARRETT BOYKIN||Virginia Tech||22.2||217||4.62||36||123||7.12|
|D'JUAN WOODS||Oklahoma State||22.6||208||4.58||36.5||120||6.89|
Note: the Hakeem Nicks broad jump is an assumed place holder so that the table sorts properly.
Regardless of how you feel about his D3 production, it seems likely that his athleticism is on the Hakeem Nicks – Jermaine Kearse continuum and good enough to get him on an NFL roster. We’ll find out for sure on March 30 when he performs at the Villanova pro day.
Many things need to go right for Rasheed Bailey to become an NFL contributor, never mind a star, but I am truly blown away by his college resume and have no reason to believe the athleticism isn’t at least “in the ballpark.” Have a look at his 2014 highlight reel and leave your comments on what you see about his game that leaves you concerned, optimistic, or both. I’m not much for film breakdown, but it looks pretty darn good to me.
If you’re interested by my inclusion of age in this article and want to learn more, shoot me an email at TheCFX@gmail.com. I’m currently researching age-adjusted production for offensive and defensive players with the goal of publishing an ebook around March 15. Shoot me an email and I’ll let you know when it’s ready for your enjoyment.