According to 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis, the Denver Broncos will hold a pre-draft visit with former Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker on Thursday.
Ohio State outside linebacker Jerome Baker is visiting Broncos on Thursday, per source. Possible 2nd-3rd round pick. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) April 3, 2018
Baker is a 6’1”, 229 linebacker who played his college ball at Ohio State and was a big part of their dominant defenses. He played three seasons at Ohio State and put up impressive numbers during that span. During those three years, Baker totaled 159 tackles, 17.5 tackles for a loss, 7 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 pass deflections, 3 fumble recoveries, and 1 forced fumble. This past season for the Buckeyes, Baker totaled 72 tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 3 pass deflections, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 forced fumble. He also returned one interception back for a touchdown.
Here is a scouting report on Jerome Baker by NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein.
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.
The Broncos have veteran Brandon Marshall returning as a starter in 2018, but it appears the player playing opposite of him will change depending on the situation. They re-signed Todd Davis to a three-year deal and he figures to be their run down specialist. Then they recently acquired safety/dimebacker Su’a Cravens from Washington to come in on sub-packages. They did lose veteran Corey Nelson to the Eagles in free agency so depth remains an issue for them.
Baker would give them another athletic and rangy linebacker who can come in on sub-packages for them. He could also contribute on special teams where his athleticism in space could be used. Baker figures to be a day two selection in the 2018 NFL Draft later this month.