NFL Draft Profile: Michigan State ILB Joe Bachie

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The Los Angeles Rams are undergoing a defensive scheme and regime change. With that being said, former Pro Bowl starting inside linebacker Cory Littleton has departed via free agency. That leaves the Rams set to start Micah Kiser, a former fifth-round pick and one of their young crop of inexperienced talent. While the Rams have talent and potential at the position, one could make the argument that they will need to look in the NFL Draft early on for a replacement to Littleton.

Here’s a linebacker in the draft who could possess some value to the depth chart, Joe Bachie.

College Bio

A three-star linebacker recruit out of high school. Joe Bachie started three seasons for the Michigan State Spartans. His freshman year he only saw the field in the final six games of the season. The next three seasons he would become the starting inside linebacker for the Spartans. He was suspended for the tail half of the 2019 season due to testing positive for PED’s. Bachie spoke about this at the Combine and explained that he took a pre-workout that surprisingly was flagged during the testing.

Measurables

Height: 6’1
Weight: 230

Strengths

Bachie is a hard-working man in the middle who has a tendency to elevate his play in crunch time. He’s a leader and that was displayed when his teammates voted him a team captain and he’s experienced due to his three years starting for a big 10 power school. He’s a high football IQ guy and does a great mirroring the running back in the backfield to restrict his path. Doesn’t take himself out of the play, prefers to be a conservative tackler than a flashy one. Goes for the strip on the ball instead of the big hit. Above-average ball production for someone not considered great in coverage. Reads quarterbacks eyes well and has the desire to jump routes.

Weaknesses

Bachie is a limited linebacker. It’s partly because of his playstyle though, he actually tested pretty well at the combine athletically. Bachie prefers to keep everything in front of himself, he’s not overly-aggressive and is rather conservative. It’s a smart way to play and it works very well in college but NFL athletes are a different ball game. His reaction time is a tick slower than the average starting NFL linebacker and he does struggle with his path to the ball due to taking poor angles in his approach. He’s a Moore heavy-footed and anchor type of athlete than a bouncy type of athlete. The brakes aren’t quick enough which is likely why he plays conservative. Long speed is there but he lacks the general explosiveness and short-area burst you want.

Three Plays on Tape

Development

Joe Bachie is a potential starter at the next level. Nothing is guaranteed for him except the fact that coaches will love his demeanor and he can provide production on special teams early on. Bachie can help a run defense and offers exciting ball production in coverage. However, he’s going to be limited and may have to take a sub-package role the majority of his career. He can certainly develop, he’s not a lost cause athletically and does some great things on film. Whichever team grabs Bachie will want to make sure they know his limitations and put him in positions to succeed.

Draft Grade: Late 5th round – Early 6th round

Bottom Line

Joe Bachie has tools that you can use in the NFL. He has the leadership qualities, high-motor and grit you want in a three-down linebacker. However, he might just be a two-down/sub-package linebacker at the next level. This, of course, is totally fine for a mid-day three draft pick and it’s by no means a career-sentence. We’ve seen players that have incredible athletic profiles completely flake out in the NFL. Bachie will outwork the average guy and he won’t just do it in the gym or the field. He will do it in the classroom. This is a very smart player that a team is going to want to bring in and bolster their linebacker depth as well as potentially grab an ace for their special teams unit. The Rams could certainly take a look at Bachie in the sixth round if he’s there since they won’t have a fifth-round pick.

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