LB Joe Bachie, Michigan St.

6’2” – 230 lbs. – 4.67

Appeared in six games as a freshman, then stepped into the starting lineup the following year and finished with 100-7.5-2.5 and three interceptions. Finished his junior year with a line of 102-9.0-1.0, then was limited to eight games this past year after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug and ended up with 72-9.5-3.5; intercepted one pass in each of the last two seasons. Two-time team captain with adequate size for a pro linebacker, although it’s on the low end of what teams look for.

Aggressive middle linebacker who’s at his best when thumping between the tackles. Plays with pretty good instincts, reading keys quickly and playing downhill with some burst and violence to his game. Active with his hands but can struggle to anchor when asked to take on blockers but has good short-area quickness and balance to slip past opposing linemen and avoid being engaged while flowing to the ball through congestion. Keeps his shoulders square and generates some pop contact to help set the tone defensively, although his overall radius is a little bit smaller than you’d like. Gives good effort in pursuit and has enough speed to get out to the sidelines and make tackles near the boundary. However, can commit to a course of action too early at times and run himself out of position, or overpursue and leave open some opportunities for runners to cut the ball upfield, so overall discipline leaves a little bit to be desired at times.

Looks comfortable making spot drops in coverage, with good balance, controlled movements, and some fluidity in his hips. Can also shade over receivers and carry them into the next zone. Has adequate explosiveness when planting and driving on a spot. Was asked to blitz a little bit and enjoyed some success in that area this past season, doing a pretty good job of anticipating snap counts and getting up to speed quickly. However, can also get engulfed by blockers when there’s no clear lane for him to rush through, and ends a lot of rushes stuck around the line of scrimmage.

An aggressive downhill linebacker who reads keys and accelerates quickly when defending the run, and who is capable of manning short zones in the passing game, although he lacks ideal size and could stand to play with more patience and discipline. It’s difficult to imagine his suspension last year affecting his stock much, and his production over the past three years should put him in the mid-range conversation.

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