Why Emani Bailey is the most intriguing undrafted free agent on the Kansas City Chiefs

Emani Bailey is the most intriguing UDFA for the Kansas City Chiefs for a few reasons.
TCU v Oklahoma
TCU v Oklahoma / Brian Bahr/GettyImages

Since the conclusion of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs have signed a plethora of undrafted free agent players who have an outside shot of making the team.

Of the UDFAs who have reportedly signed with the Chiefs so far, two of them are running backs: Carson Steele of UCLA and Emani Bailey of TCU. Many Chiefs fans are hoping one of those undrafted running backs pop to give Kansas City a boost out of the backfield as they were not able to address running back at any point throughout the NFL Draft. That's a position group that is looking rather thin as the only two givens are Isiah Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Nonetheless, Bailey and Steele are both players who could have very well been drafted in the later rounds of the NFL Draft but slipped through the cracks for one reason or another. Steele, in particular, was even a player the Chiefs brought in on a pre-draft visit and that connection likely helped them to land Steele as an undrafted free agent.

However, the most intriguing undrafted free agent regardless of position is TCU's Emani Bailey. This is because of Bailey's profile that makes him nearly impossible to project.

Emani Bailey is the most intriguing UDFA for the Kansas City Chiefs for a few reasons.

Of course, there's always a reason why an undrafted player went undrafted and that is no different with Bailey. The most likely reason is that he tested poorly during the pre-draft process. With a RAS score of just over 1, Bailey was one of the least athletic running backs to ever test since the metric has been tracking prospects.

While RAS or athleticism shouldn't serve as a primary metric for judging a player, it has to be considered since bad athletes are significantly less likely to succeed in the NFL and athleticism probably matters more for the running back position than any other. Not to mention that Bailey is only 5'8", 200 lbs. Being small along with poor athleticism is an undraftable combination

But here's where it gets interesting with Bailey. When watching his film, he appears to be super spry, has been clocked at over 20 MPH in games, and has a little bit of wiggle and the ability to put moves on defenders. His athletic testing simply does not match his playing ability. Could Bailey just be a bad tester? Possibly, but a score that bad is extremely hard to get even if you're a subpar athlete. Even the 4.8 forty time seems unfathomable when you watch Bailey blow by defenders on film.

Bailey was one of TCU's best offensive players last season, totaling over 1,200 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns with a 5.4 YPC average—good enough for All-BIG12 honorable mention. There's no doubt he was a productive college player. He's a hard runner, almost Pacheco-esque who will put his body on the line just to get a few extra yards. He has sufficient burst and plays with physicality. Bailey also appears to have natural hands as a pass catcher, and quite a bit of reaching ability considering his size. He may not have high-end speed like some of the other backs in the class, but it is still very good.

Unfortunately, Bailey was probably overlooked due to his poor testing and size, but at first glance, it looks like he can play. Luckily, he will have the opportunity to prove his athleticism testing was a fluke and that he can contribute to a Chiefs running back room that badly needs help.

Bailey is certainly one of the more interesting case studies at the running back position in this UDFA class, and his development is one Chiefs fans should monitor as we approach training camp and OTAs.