The Miami Dolphins selected Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker with the 73rd overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, adding further depth and competition to a position that found itself struggling in 2017.
Baker weighs in at 6-foot-1 and 229 pounds, and he ran a 4.53 at the combine; what he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed and range. Perhaps the greatest highlight of his career was back in 2016 when he intercepted a pass from none other than Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield and ran it 68 yards the other way for a touchdown.
"This is a guy we spent a lot of time with (Ohio State) coach Bush, really got to know the kid through the draft process, and for us he had speed." Dolphins GM Chris Grier said after the pick. "We want to get faster on defense, so adding him and Minkah (Fitzpatrick) these first two days, it was a big priority on that side to get faster, and this kid has that."
During his three year career at Ohio State, he accumulated 159 tackles (17.5 for a loss), seven sacks and two interceptions. He received honorable mention All-Big Ten Honors in 2016, and was an honorable mention All-Conference pick in 2017.
Perhaps most bizarrely, Baker was asked at the combine by a coach what would he do if he were to be punched in the face.
"The one question that sticks out is I sat down, and the first thing the coach asked me is what I would do if he punched me in the face right now?" Baker said in early April. "To me, being from Cleveland, my natural reaction was, 'Coach, no disrespect but if you punch me in the face, we're gonna fight right here.' That was just my natural response. I guess that's what he wanted to hear, because he said, 'Good.'"
By picking Baker, the Dolphins have reunited him with his former Ohio State LB and teammate Raekwon McMillan, who GM Chris Grier said spoke highly of him during the draft process.
Baker now joins a LB corps which consists of Kiko Alonso, Stephone Anthony, Terence Garvin, Mike Hull, Chase Allen, and the aforementioned McMillan.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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