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2020 NFL Draft Profile: Michigan State linebacker Joe Bachie

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State linebacker Joe Bachie is next up in our draft profile series. Bachie is projected to be drafted somewhere on Day Three, which takes place on Saturday, April 25. However, if a team has fallen in love with him, he may hear his name called prior to that.

Bachie was a two-time captain, three-time member of Michigan State’s Eagles leadership council and a tackling machine during his time in East Lansing. He is a surefire pick come next week, but NFL scouts, coaches and front office personnel members may be alarmed by Bachie’s failed PED test, which the linebacker explained was from an over-the-counter pre workout supplement. It will be interesting to see how that affects his stock.


Name: Joe Bachie
Position: Linebacker
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 230 pounds
Draft Projection: Day Three (Between Rounds Four and Seven)

NFL Scouting Combine Measurables:

40-yard dash: 4.67 seconds (17th among LBs)
Bench press: 26 reps (second among LBs)
Vertical jump: 33.5 inches (14th among LBs)
Broad jump: 119 inches (23rd among LBs)
Three-cone drill: 6.93 seconds (third among LBs)
20-yard shuttle: 4.34 seconds (15th among LBs)

Bachie participated in every drill at the Combine, and had a relatively strong performance. He showed off his strength, ranking second in the bench press activity with 26 reps, only behind Michigan’s Khaleke Hudson. While his 40-yard dash time was middle of the pack, Bachie impressed in the three-cone drill, ranking third amongst all linebackers (6.93 seconds). He also looked smooth in the on-field drills for linebackers. He met with several NFL teams, and heard plenty of questions in Indianapolis about the failed PED test, that he hopes he has put behind him after explaining what happened.

It was a solid overall performance by Bachie at the Combine. His Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 7.85 is a good mark. If you’ve been keeping up with these draft profiles, you now know RAS quantifies a player’s measurements and metrics, then grades them on a 0 to 10 scale compared to their position group. That number places Bachie in the 78.5 percentile range for linebackers.

Statistics and Accolades


Games Played: 40 (34 starts)
Total Tackles: 285
Tackles For Loss: 27.5
Sacks: Eight
Interceptions: Five
Passes Defended: 16
Forced Fumbles: Five
Fumble Recoveries: Two

  • Earned first-team All-Big Ten honors by the coaches (and multiple other publications), and second-team All-Big Ten honors by the media and Associated Press in 2018
  • Earned third-team All-Big Ten honors by the media and All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches in 2019, despite only playing in eight games
  • Named second-team All-Big Ten by Pro Football Focus and Phil Steele in 2017
  • Earned third-team All-Big Ten honors by both the coaches and media in 2017
  • Won MSU’s Downtown Coaches Club Award for “most outstanding defensive player” in 2018
  • Won MSU’s Governor’s Award as team MVP in 2017
  • Named national semifinalist for Dick Butkus Award (awarded to the top linebacker in the nation) in 2019
  • Named first-team mid-season All-American by Rivals and second-team mid-season All-American by the Associated Press, The Athletic and Athlon Sports in 2019
  • Named first-team preseason All-American by the Associated Press in 2019
  • Four-Time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week
  • Recorded 100 or more total tackles in back-to-back seasons in 2017 and 2018
  • Two-time team captain
  • Three-time member of Michigan State’s Eagles leadership council


Bachie was a playmaker and a leader for the Spartans from 2017 through 2019. Unfortunately, his career ended unceremoniously with the suspension and that is going to be the biggest red flag for NFL teams, but several people within the MSU program will go to bat for Bachie’s character. Despite only playing in eight games, Bachie still earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2019, and he received All-Conference recognition in each of the past three seasons. Most of the projections have Bachie getting drafted in the fifth or sixth round, which seems about right, although the fourth round is also a possibility. If he slips to the seventh round, an NFL team will be happy to get somebody of Bachie’s caliber who can contribute on special teams right away and work his way into some defensive snaps.

The other knock on Bachie from scouts seems to be his ability to play man coverage, however he is lauded for his ability to the stop run. If he goes to a team that runs heavy zone concepts, he can find some success as an inside linebacker. Bachie obviously played in a 4-3 defensive scheme at MSU, and will likely fit best with an NFL team that runs a similar scheme, however, his traits could carry over into a 3-4 scheme as well. Bachie is a smart, instinctive player who often finds himself in the right spot. In any event, I expect Bachie to not only get drafted, but to also make a team’s regular season roster.

What scouts, analysts and coaches are saying about Bachie:

“Productive and tough, Bachie is a limited inside linebacker who needs the action to stay in his living room in order to make plays. He is a natural at the position with a feel for flowing to the football ahead of blocks or smartly hanging back when he senses misdirection. His play strength and contact balance are a plus but teams might view them with some skepticism after a failed PED test. He will struggle with man coverage but plays passing lanes from zone effectively. His technique and play recognition will stand out for defensive coaches, but it might not matter if his speed and athletic testing don’t check out. — Draft Analyst, Lance Zierlein

“Bachie is an underrated and overlooked linebacker who will be underdrafted in April. He presents himself as a three-down defender who stands out against the run and can also play in zone coverage on passing downs. Bachie also comes with a special-teams mentality. He’ll be great value on day three of the draft and can develop into a starter at the next level.” — Tony Pauline, Chief Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network

“Joe Bachie projects as a primary run defender at the NFL level. His physicality in between the tackles brings value to a defense and his intelligence and discipline in his reads will put him in a position to shoot gaps and challenge the LOS. He’s not ideally a candidate to play all three downs and would be best served to be substituted in sub-packages to boost range and ability to play man coverage in passing downs. Bachie is a base defense starting caliber player as a MIKE linebacker.” — Kyle Crabbs, Senior Draft Analyst for The Draft Network

You have what happened with him missing games. … I thought he did a good job directing traffic,” Jeremiah said. “He can float, sort and fill and make some plays there. I just thought he had really average speed and range and I didn’t anticipate he would get drafted.” — NFL Network Draft Analyst, Daniel Jeremiah

Update: Jeremiah more recently had this to say on Bachie:

“He will be interesting to see when he comes off the board. He’s a good player who’s really come up in the process when you talk to coaches that have met with him during this time of the year that have been very impressed with his knowledge.”