Chris Baker is nothing if not resilient.
After off-field issues forced he and several of his teammates out at Penn State, Baker wound up at FCS Hampton University. He was an All-MEAC standout, but didn’t get drafted by an NFL team following his last year with the Pirates.
He wound up signing with the Broncos, but played only one game in 2009. He left Denver that off-season, eventually signing with the Dolphins’ practice squad. He earned promotion to the 53-man roster and again played one game.
He finally made his way to Washington in 2011. There, again, he was signed to the practice squad, but wound up missing that entire season with a quad injury.
There was no real reason to think that 2012 would be dramatically different for “Swaggy.” After all, Baker had played just two games in his three years in the NFL. It was going to be a close call as to whether Baker would be able to get the back-up nose tackle spot, but he wound up earning it after Chris Neild was lost to injury.
This was the first time Baker made a 53-man roster going into a season. It was an important step in his development, but he made a leap in 2013.
Baker wound up starting three games at defensive end and playing in all but one. He recorded his first career sack as well, tackling the Bears’ Jay Cutler to notch it. The Redskins rewarded Baker’s improvement with a three-year contract, although his status as a starter was still very much in doubt.
Baker erased those doubts in 2014, starting 12 games at nose tackle. He recorded a career-best 25 tackles, but his most memorable moment was probably this one:
Baker stepped up again in 2015, when he overtook free-agent signee Stephen Paea to earn a starting DE spot. He recorded a career-high six sacks and continued his overachieving trend.
Finally, Baker started every game in an NFL season for the first time in 2016. He started 16 games at defensive end and posted a new career high of 30 tackles for the year. He left Washington this past offseason to sign a three-year deal with Tampa Bay.
Baker narrowly edges out Demetric Evans, who started fewer games for the Redskins, but did record 12 sacks during his tenure in DC. Baker’s “Approximate Value” is slightly higher than Evans’, and I think Baker gets extra consideration for repeatedly exceeding expectations to have an impact for the Redskins.
Because of those factors, I think it’s fair to tab Swaggy as the Redskins’ all-time #92.
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Who is the greatest #92 in Redskins history?
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