Last week Pete Prisco released his annual Most Overrated Players list. This week he brings things full circle with his annual Most Underrated Players list. The underrated list consists of a player from every team that Prisco thinks doesn’t get enough credit. Representing the Redskins on the list is DE Chris Baker and Prisco had this to say:
He isn't flashy or a big name, but he makes plays. Baker had six sacks last season from his down spot in their 3-4 scheme. He is also good against the run. At 325 pounds, he has made himself into a heck of a down player.
Prisco keeps is short and sweet so I’ll expand up his selection a little bit. Since entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of Hampton in 2009 the odds have been stacked against Baker to make an impact much less last in the NFL. After signing with Denver and Miami respectively and only playing one game with each team before being released he found a home with the Washington Redskins in 2011. His drive and motivation helped him work his way up from the practice squad and and eventually working his way onto the 53 man roster in 2012.
Baker took advantage of injuries to Chris Neild, Barry Cofield and worked his way into a more consistent role as part of the defensive line rotation. Baker improved so much from his start as an undrafted free agent / practice squad player that the Redskins deemed it necessary to sign him to a 3 year deal worth 12 million dollars during the 2014 season.
Last season Baker stepped up another level having himself a career year posting 51 tackles, 6 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. Baker may never be a superstar but he is the epitome of a player that has the right attitude and motivation to develop, improve, and make an impact for a team. I was not a fan in the beginning but his play and attitude and obvious camaraderie with his teammates has won me over.
If Baker can post that stat line again or produce close to it he will be in line for yet another extension.
Do you agree with Pete Prisco’s selection of Baker as the Redskins most underrated player? Do you think it should have been someone else? Let me know in the comments!