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Mel Kiper: Markus Bailey has “talent of second or third rounder”

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ESPN analyst says Bengals 7th round pick was their most underrated selection in the draft.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 Vanderbilt at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Bengals surprised everyone when the double-dipped at linebacker in the draft. After selecting Logan Wilson in the third round, the Bengals went right back to linebacker in the fourth with Akeem Davis-Gaither.

It was even more surprising when the Bengals went back to linebacker in the seventh round. With their last pick in the draft, the Bengals picked Markus Bailey out of Purdue.

On the First Draft podcast, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper said that Bailey was the Bengals’ most underrated draft pick in 2020.

“Daniel Jeremiah had a second round grade on him,” said Kiper. “I had him in the third. We were both thinking early…within the first two days.”

Kiper said that Bailey’s injury concerns dropped down on most draft boards. He said that if Bailey can stay healthy, he will prove to be a steal.

“When he was on the field, he was flying around the field making plays against the run. In coverage, he’s a kid who plays hard, great attitude, great approach. You got a kid with the talent of a second or third rounder. He only dropped because of injury.”

He noted that some players with injury concerns in college that never follow them into the NFL. Some players stay completely healthy on college and can’t shake the injury bug in the NFL. You just never know.

The fellows at The Orange and Black Insider Bengals podcast recently caught up with Bailey to talk about his moving on from the injuries and what his fit looks like with Cincinnati going forward.

Bailey was one of the best coverage linebackers in the draft, even though he fell to the seventh round. Matt Minich recently provided us with some nice film breakdowns showing Bailey’s prowess in coverage.

The fact is that it’s becoming more and more apparent Bailey has a good shot at being a solid contributor for this team. It’s kind of funny to think that the Bengals’ best value pick may have been their last one of the 2020 class.