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Everything you need to know about Ohio State LB Jerome Baker

The Buckeye could be the next in a long line of successful LBs out of Columbus.

Penn State v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

One of only three players out of Ohio State to decide to declare for the NFL early, linebacker Jerome Baker had a good reason to make the jump to the pros: He’s expected to be a first or second round draft pick. The Buckeyes have a reputation for producing some of the top linebacker talent in the NFL, and the next round of rookies should continue that streak.

Baker was hidden in the depth chart his freshman year, but was a two-year starter in Columbus, and finished his collegiate career with 25 starts in 33 games played. In his final two seasons at Ohio State, the linebacker amassed 155 total tackles (87 solo) — including seven sacks for 51 yards and 17.5 tackles for loss — two interceptions and a forced fumble. His production dipped a bit in 2017, but he was still a critical component in the Buckeyes winning the Big Ten title.

Like several Buckeyes before him, Baker was known to step up in critical moments. Notably, in 2016 against rival Michigan, the Buckeye not only had a then-career-high 15 tackles, but also snagged a third-quarter interception to keep the Wolverines from extending their 10-point lead — Ohio State came back to win, in large part to this momentum shifting play. Baker would best his 15 tackles from that game a year later in 2017, when he claimed 16 total tackles against Wisconsin in the 2017 Big Ten championship game.

Scouting Report

Here’s what the pros are saying in his NFL Combine Scouting Report:

STRENGTHS: Moves fluidly and fast. Has hip looseness and footwork to flow around the field. Has trigger burst to flash from backside and close down running lanes. Tremendously rangy as tackler. Change of direction comes easily. Capable of eluding blockers with quick lateral movement. Takes efficient paths to the ball. Sifts and works through traffic bouncing in and out of gaps. Has athletic ability to handle premium athletes in space. Shadowed Saquon Barkley for most of the game and helped keep him in check. Talented in space with footwork to match receivers in space and hands to take the ball. Can carry vertical receivers down the field. Able to outrun mistakes and slow diagnosis.

WEAKNESSES: Skinny frame and gets engulfed by size. Looks small, plays small. Lacks functional play strength and sturdy base to withstand power. Must improve hand work to keep himself clean. Gets glued to blocks. Slow to diagnose and instincts are below par. Lingers on second level rather than bringing it to running backs. Lack of size and nastiness could be a concern on run downs against bully-ball rush attacks. Loses gap leverage and gets knocked around the field. Ducks head into contact. Has too many hit and slide tackle attempts. Gets caught flowing past his run fits. Motor can be inconsistent and will loaf at times in space.


Measurements

  • Height: 6-1 1/8”
  • Weight: 229 lbs
  • Hand size: 10 3/8”
  • Arm length: 31 4/8”
  • Wingspan: 76 1/8”

Workout Results

Bench press: 22 reps

40-yard dash: 4.53 sec (unofficial, first run)

Vertical jump: 36.5”

Broad jump: 126.0”


Interview Notables and Quotables


Draft Projection

Currently, the NFL is projecting the former Buckeye as a second or third round selection, but he’s been bounced around from late-first round to third round throughout the pre-draft process.

Player Profiles and Combine Result Links

Player Position Everything you need to know
Player Position Everything you need to know
J.T. Barrett QB Draft Profile
Marcus Baugh TE Draft Profile
Jerome Baker LB Draft Profile
Jalyn Holmes DE Draft Profile
Sam Hubbard DE Draft Profile
Jamarco Jones OT Draft Profile
Tyquan Lewis DL Draft Profile
Billy Price C/G Draft Profile
Denzel Ward CB Draft Profile
Damon Webb SAF Draft Profile
Chris Worley LB Draft Profile