Bengals Roster: Realistic expectations for Markus Bailey in 2022

Leigh Oleszczak
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Markus Bailey -Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Markus Bailey -Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Markus Bailey is heading into his third year on the Cincinnati Bengals roster. What should fans expect from him in year three?

After an impressive season with the Purdue Boilermakers in 2018 where he totaled 115 tackles and 6.5 sacks, Markus Bailey was trending in a positive direction entering the final year of his college career.

Unfortunately for him, he suffered an ACL tear early into the 2020 season and only appeared in two games as a result. That led to his stock plummeting in the draft and the Cincinnati Bengals were able to land him in the seventh round.

As a rookie, Bailey appeared in 11 games but was predominantly present on special teams. In fact, he only appeared in 6% of defensive snaps.

In year two, Bailey continued to be a contributor on special teams but his playing time on defense improved. He finished the year with 38 tackles and three defended passes through 16 games and appeared in 24% of defensive snaps.

Bengals Roster: What should fans expect from Markus Bailey in 2022?

After showing that he could fill in as a reserve last year (he started three games while Logan Wilson was out), Bailey should continue to be a nice backup option for the stripes in his third NFL season. Wilson and Germaine Pratt are the two starting linebackers but Bailey and Akeem Davis-Gaither are the two guys right behind them on the depth chart.

In Mike Clay of ESPN’s projections for the 2022 season, he had Bailey tallying 15 tackles. He probably outperforms this projection but past injury concerns and Wilson and Pratt ahead of him on the depth chart is probably why the number is lower.

The Bengals linebacker group didn’t look great on paper last year entering the season but they all stepped up and Bailey was a part of that. If he can stay healthy this year, he should be able to replicate what he did last year. For a seventh-round pick, that’s pretty dang good.

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