Zack Bailey is a native of Summerville, South Carolina where he starred for the local high school as one of the best lineman in the state. Despite playing a very non-glamorous position, he still managed to be one of five finalists for South Carolina’s Mr. Football Award. As a four-star prospect, Bailey decided to stay close to home by committing to play his college ball at the University of South Carolina.
Bailey didn’t have to wait long to see some significant playing time as he recorded five starts as a true freshman with two coming at left guard and three coming at center. He stepped into a full-time starting role as a sophomore where he played solely at left guard.
As a junior, things were shaken up for Bailey as he switched to right tackle for the entire season. He unfortunately missed a handful of games due to injury, but otherwise recorded eight starts in nine total games played. He capped off his college career by being named a permanent captain in 2018 and getting switched back to left guard. He earned his first All-SEC honor as he was named to the second team by both the AP and the Coaches.
Following his time at South Carolina, Bailey was invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game, one of the country’s premiere all-star college showcases. A coupe months later, he earned an invite to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
The 6’5, 299-pounder ultimately went undrafted following the 2019 NFL draft. He ended up signing a UDFA deal with the Buccaneers. After spending a littler over a season and a half in Tamp Bay, Bailey found his way to the Vikings for the final four games of the 2020 season.
Prior to landing with the Chargers this offseason, Bailey also spent time with both the Colts and Commanders in 2021.
College: South Carolina
Years with team: 0
“Zack Bailey signed a 1 year, $825,000 contract with the Washington Football Team, including an average annual salary of $825,000. In 2022, Bailey will earn a base salary of $825,000, while carrying a cap hit of $825,000.” - Spotrac.com
Bailey has experience playing multiple positions up front. He also offers ideal size to play both guard and tackle in the NFL. Playing his college ball in the nation’s toughest conference will also earn you some points as you transition to the pros.
Physically, he’s a smooth mover in space. He has no trouble moving up to the second level to cover up linebackers and can be pulled out as a lead-blocker when needed.
One of the best angles I've seen taken to the 2nd level from Zack Bailey. I want more of this pic.twitter.com/DBjY6mXwK2— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) February 19, 2019
Bailey has struggled to stick with any team for longer than a single season. Now heading into his fourth season, he’s now with his fifth team. Seeing how the Chargers reinforced their offensive line with two draft picks, it’s likely he’ll make it sixth before this upcoming season is over.
Bailey is a built a tad top heavy. He’s got thick arms and a burly chest but he lacks ideal balance and power through contact which comes from an underdeveloped lower body. He can get to the target just fine, but he struggles to make something happen after that point.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2022?
Bailey is likely to be one of the first players cut from his position. The Chargers have 14 offensive lineman currently on the roster and it’s a foregone conclusion that they only keep around nine on the final roster. As for the practice squad spots, he’ll have to fight four other players to stick around. It’s likely the Bolts keep two on the PS so at least he’s got a higher chance than players at other less important positions.