After using a second-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft to select Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki, the Miami Dolphins turned back to their defense, backing up their first round choice, Alabama defensive back Minikah Fitzpatrick. With their third-round choice, the Dolphins added Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker.
Baker brings to the Dolphins an ability to cover tight ends, but also could have some issues due to size. As a fan base that understands what Zach Thomas did as an undersized linebacker, Baker should be someone we are excited to see. What will he bring to the Dolphins? I recently had a chance to ask Christopher Jason from SB Nation’s Ohio State team site, Land Grant Holy Land, that exact question.
A two-year starter at weakside linebacker in Ohio State’s 4-3 scheme, Jerome Baker will bring athleticism and play making potential to the Miami Dolphins defense. In Ohio State’s biggest games, Baker consistently stepped up his game. In 2016, he registered a 15 tackle, one interception game against Michigan. Then in 2017, he tallied 16 tackles in the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin. Standing at 6-foot-1, and 229 lbs, Baker has the frame to play in sub-packages right away, where he should succeed early on. His speed and quickness (4.53 40-yard dash and 6.93 second 3-cone drill) will allow him to be a factor on third downs, as he does well covering tight ends and even running backs out of the backfield. Baker needs to do a better job against the run, where even though he put up big numbers, he wasn’t as consistent as he should have been as a tackler -- which is why he landed in the third round. It will be fun to watch him line up to Raekwon McMillan again, which is when Baker had his best season as a sophomore. McMillan’s leadership and natural instincts at the linebacker position, combined with Baker’s athleticism made them a lethal combo in Columbus.