Deandre Baker, CB
School: Georgia | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 185 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 1st Round
NFL Comparison: Kyle Fuller
Deandre Baker was a 3-star recruit from Miami when he decided to commit to Georgia in 2015. To this day I am sick to my stomach that my Canes did not try and recruit him and/or make him an offer. Baker got offers from schools like Texas and Clemson but decided to play for Kirby Smart because of his defensive pedigree and the level of competition in the SEC. Baker has been one of college football’s best corners for a couple years now. He nearly made the jump to the NFL early last season. The loss to Alabama in the championship game was a real disappointment to him. This past season he played his part in trying to get the Dawgs back to that stage but they fell short in the playoff selection. Baker did pick up two impressive personal accolades though. He was voted a consensus All-American in 2018 and he is the winner of the Jim Thorpe award which is given to the nation’s best college defensive back. He won the award over other top corner’s Greedy Williams and Julian Love. Baker plays with a lot of passion and grit. As good as he is has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. In an early season game against South Carolina he was taunted by WR Deebo Samuel leading up to the game who said something to the effect of “I don’t know who he is”. Baker took that as a sign of disrespect and in turn held Samuel to 33 receiving yards and picked off a pass in that game. He is a highly competitive player with top notch cover skill especially in zone coverage.
- Good size for the position with good athleticism. Baker will be able to stick with almost anyone in the field in a foot race and I expect him to run in the mid 4.4s.
- Great coverage corner who can play man but I think is better in zone right now. Baker lures QBs and WRs into a false sense of security because he often plays so far off the WR at the LOS. When the ball is thrown he closes so quickly and is able to disrupt the pass. If a receiver does catch it Baker is usually there to bring him down.
- What makes Baker so good in coverage are his instincts, anticipation, and ability to recognize a route. He can’t quite run the route with the receiver as the best man corners do but Baker does have a great understanding of whats unfolding around him in zone and makes good decisions regarding his timing and how he’s going to disrupt the pass.
- Hands are decent. He probably should have a few more interceptions but the couple he snagged this year are because he was flying full speed to the ball.
- I have bad flashbacks when I see a corner playing so much off coverage. Baker is good at zone and off man but the space he was accustomed to giving WRs in college is going to shrink in the NFL. The big question is how long it will take him to adjust to this.
- Because a lot of his time is spent playing off coverage and because of the team around him Baker didnt have to come up a ton in run support. It will be interesting to see if he can get more production / be more aggressive as a tackler in the pros.
- If asked to play press man he is going to have to get stronger to effectively jam receivers at the LOS.
Let’s see his work:
DeAndre Baker wins the 2018 #JimThorpe award #UGA #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/TNoItkznFr— Andrew (@awTide) December 7, 2018
Deandre Baker is now a projected Top 5 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft#KeepChoppin pic.twitter.com/IkXkXLMc7z— blakejmorgan (@blakejmorgann) October 30, 2018
I can hear @Coach_mtucker now.... “STRIIIIIIIIIIKEEEE” @RIP_Shod23 #SMACKDOWNSUNDAY pic.twitter.com/ndnVDzFnyQ— Glenn Schumann (@CoachSchuUGA) September 16, 2018
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
Assuming the defensive philosophy stays the same for the Skins as well as the defensive staff. I think Baker could fit well given how much zone and off coverage the team plays. From what I can gather it appears the Redskins boundary corners play more off man / zone as opposed to the person playing the nickel/slot. I think if the Redskins used a 1st round pick on Baker we would obviously be expecting him to start opposite of Norman or Dunbar (whoever the team keeps as starter). I think the Redskins secondary needed some top corner talent since the trade that sent Kendal Fuller to the Chiefs. Norman at this point in his career is a CB2 and will have to adjust his cost or likely part ways with the team. Dunbar is a converted WR who was playing well and showed a lot of promise until a nerve injury in his leg started flaring up late in the season. I think Dunbar at best is a CB2. That means in my opinion the Redskins have a real need once again for a corner with CB1 potential. I think Baker can provide that alone with his cover skills. I hope the staff can get him up to speed with some more physical tackling as well as improving his hands but I see a lot of promise with him.