Round 3, Pick 73: LB Jerome Baker to the Miami Dolphins
Miami has picked up another quality linebacker of The Ohio State University in Jerome Baker. This will be their second year in a row selecting a linebacker from Ohio State as they took the school’s star middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan in the second round last season. Miami must have good taste because they got themselves another ultra-athletic player to boost their defense.
Baker played just three seasons for the Buckeyes before foregoing his final season to enter the 2018 NFL Draft. He only appeared in three games his freshman year but that all changed soon after. Baker played in every game in his final two seasons where he made big plays. One of these plays included a pick-six at Oklahoma in 2016 where the Buckeyes routed the Sooners on their home field.
Baker’s time as a Buckeye felt relatively short as he never particularly had the spotlight that he deserved. Though he put up great numbers in 2016, he played in the shadow of McMillan. However, this is natural as the Buckeyes always have a roster full of star players which makes it very difficult to stand out from the pack.
The most fascinating aspect about Baker is his combination of size and speed. Baker is 6’1″ 225 pounds and ran a 4.53 at the combine which was good for sixth fastest among linebackers this year. That combination makes for a great fit, especially in this modern NFL era. Teams are starting to get faster and finding ways to spread the offense. Having a linebacker who can quickly cover the length of the field while being capable of defending receiving backs is essential.
The Dolphins were 16th last season in total defense. Adding another speedy linebacker in Baker to go alongside last year’s early draft pick McMillan will surely improve their defense once again. Baker should contribute immediately from the linebacker position as the Dolphins were in need of support.