#14 Drew Bailey
Position: Defensive Line
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
Thoughts: Drew is hands down one of my Top 3 favorite players on this team. I was actually a little surprised when I went to write this and remembered he wasn't one of those 3 year starters for the Cards, but a guy who just earned that role heading into last season. He walks, talks, and acts like a player with the maturity of a multi-year captain, and I'm over the top excited to see him show off in 2017.
Last year Drew was faced with the same questions, over and over....how do you step in and replace a player like Sheldon Rankins? His answer was always the same, you don't try and replace him, you simply step into the spot, learn from what he taught you, and play the best you can, "not worrying about the past, but focusing on the future". Well, that seemed to work pretty well. Drew lead what many would consider a Top 10 rushing defense in the country last season, and the statistics seem to agree. Cards only gave up 1497yds (13th in country), and 115.2yds/g (12th), but teams tried to establish the run a lot against the them last season, usually to try and slow the game down and keep the ball out the hands of Lamar Jackson. What that means is that when you look at thier average yards per attempt (3.1yds) the Card were 6th in the country, and what matters most, they kept teams out of the endzone, only allowing 7 rushing TDs all year (trailing only Alabama). Drew had a career best 58 tackles last season and was constantly disrupting the offense, getting penetration at will on occasion using his trademark bullrush mentality to overpower the O-line. I don't expect that approach to change this year either.
I'm glad were only two weeks out because talking about Bailey gets me pumped to see him hit somebody. I have some concerns with the Cards depth along the line (especially with the Chris Williams dismissal) but the starters are absolute freaking monsters who will have their way more often than not. If they can stay healthy, I expect another Top 10 performance from the front 7.
If you aren't already a big Bailey fan go watch some of this kids interviews on YouTube. Always open and honest, and usually drops some lines for you to chuckle on. Great kid. Will miss him next year on and off the field.