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2019 NFL Draft Prospects: Georgia CB DeAndre Baker proves to be a stud

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DeAndre Baker has set himself apart from most the CBs in the 2019 class

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it is that time of year I guess! With the Steelers now eliminated from the playoffs and solely focused on the offseason, it is time to take a deep dive into prospects they can target. I will be doing this for a number of prospects throughout this process, and the first one I will be doing is Georgia CB DeAndre Baker.


Measurements and Production

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 185 lbs

Projected 40: 4.53

Data: SportsReference.com, The Draft Network


Film Room

DeAndre Baker has not given up a Touchdown in over two years. To say the least, that is extremely impressive and perhaps a testament to how good Baker really is in retrospect of this entire class.

What stands out about Baker’s game is nothing more than ability to be aggressive and aware at the same time. This kid is an incredibly smart player and he plays with an aggressiveness that is infectious to all the DBs around him.

If you want to see what I mean by that, you really have to look no further than here.

This is one of trickery reverses, and a normal player would just try to chase the guy down from the opposite side of the field, but Baker is a high IQ player and aware. By staying at home and alert, he cuts off the intended pitch back design of this entire play. Trick plays simply do not fool Baker and whew does he ever come screaming down with a full head of steam.

That isn’t atypical of Baker either, it is extremely common to see his aggressive demeanor translate over into run defense and press coverage. He can be overaggressive at times, yes, but as any good coach will tell you, it is easier to coach aggressiveness out of a player a little than to coach into them.

Yeah, I know, this play is from two years ago, but if this doesn’t illustrate just how alert Baker is and how good he is at it, then I don’t know. Obviously, he got burnt, and I haven’t seen that happen in a darn long time, but to recover in that manner should give any football fan a ton of hope while watching the tape.

Watch him at the top of left of this screen here. Beautiful job to keep his hips facing outward so the receiver cannot stack him in anyway, and to use his hands to maintain leverage there. Baker is a fantastic press-man cornerback and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. He is physical and makes plays on the ball all the time. Ball skills are always needed when you are a CB, and the Steelers are missing them. Baker would give them that, so please give us mercy there.

Yeah, this is an impressive play. He processes this play so well that his tight hips, which are issue become a nonissue here. Fantastic play to jump on this and then make a play on the ball, and he really does just mirror it perfectly. Having such a technically sound and smart player like Baker does wonders for a team, especially when he is a natural leader too.


Weaknesses

Baker is not a good athlete at all. He really is average and his speed is a big concern. Against the faster receivers in the NFL he will have to press them or risk getting completely dusted. It is not like that happened all that much on his Georgia tape, because he is fantastic with his hands, but it is something to watch. He is a bit stiff in his hips, so he is not fluid when he changing directions, but with how good of a processor he is, there isn’t too much worry. The last big thing is over aggressiveness. He can get far too feisty and get ripped past for a big gain. Again, not a common occurrence, but at the next level, it is something to monitor.


Fit with the Steelers

Baker can play in the Nickel or at the outside spot, but with the Steelers, he will absolutely be opposite of Joe Haden. With the Steelers loving Cover 3, Tampa 2, and Cover 2, but starting to really put press in more, Baker finds it a more natural fit. Despite the tight hip issues and the lack of zone he ran at Georgia, Baker has the elite processing needed for zone, and being an excellent communicator, he will fix secondary issues as well with his high IQ play. In other words, I would call Baker an idea fit.


Final Thoughts

Will the Steelers be able to get Baker? It depends. If Byron Murphy declares, the answer is probably yes, and it would be a fantastic pick at that. If not, the waters become much more murky, but when he can be this good and fits your team this well, do you trade up for him? The answer is likely an emphatic yes. Regardless, I would love to see the Steelers go out and grab DeAndre Baker to be the future of the secondary.