2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: DB Deandre Baker

Player Description:

Name: Deandre Baker

Position: Defensive back

College: Georgia

Class: Senior

Height: 5’11

Weight: 185 lbs

When we talk about the premier shutdown defensive backs in college football, two names seem to be always part of the discussion; Andraez “Greedy Williams out of LSU and this man, Deandre Baker of the Georgia Bulldogs. Let me get this out of the way so that we all know who we are dealing with here; this young man is good, elite-level good; good enough to be the type of player with the potential of becoming a Pro-Bowl player in a short period of time at the next level.  When you watch his games, quarterback tend not to go to his side for the simple fact that if you test him, he will often make you regret it.

Baker did not make his mark on the team until his sophomore year. During that season he played in 12 games and finished with 21 total tackles, two interceptions, 7 passes defended, a forced fumble and a sack. His most notable game that year came against the University of Florida where he recorded 10 total tackles and a sack. The following year, he improved his numbers by recording 30 total tackles, three interceptions, and 12 passed defended in 15 games. He played a key part in his Bulldogs getting to the National Championship game last year, where he recording 3 tackles and an interception against Alabama.

So far this season he is on pace to surpass his totals in tackles, interceptions and passes defended. Yet his numbers do not appropriately describe how good he is at playing his position.

Man-To-Man Coverage

I often do not use this term to describe many college players, but his ability to play man coverage is near-flawless, here is why. Firstly he plays tight and generally gives a receiver little to no room to operate. Secondly, he is constantly reading the receiver at chest-level, anticipating his possible moves. Thirdly, he has good enough hips to transition from one angle to another. Lastly, his ability to play the ball as well as the man, some cornerbacks do it well, but he just does it better than everyone else. This clip will describe what I mean.

 

Tipping The Field

To illustrate this point, let us use the game against South Carolina in week 2. Coming into this game, Baker was up against Gamecocks receiver Deebo Samuels, a potential All-American himself. What became apparent after the Gamecocks first offensive series was how their quarterback purposely avoided going on Baker’s side and with good reason. Here was the eventual result of that decision.

In actuality, this was not Baker’s touchdown as he dropped it a few inches before crossing the end zone but you get the idea; Baker is that type of player what will capitalize on mistakes and make you pay. Late in the first, after the Gamecocks had scored to get back into the game, they decided in this sequence to go for it on 4th down. Not only was the decision unnecessary but it could have been costly as they tried to go on Baker side.

In addition to losing 41-17, Samuel ended the game with only 33 receiving yards and they promptly avoided Baker’s that side for the majority of the game. This is the type of fear Baker put into quarterbacks and part of why playing the Bulldog’s defence is so difficult.

Areas of Concern

Baker is listed at 5’11 and yet in some ways, he can play longer than his given size. The concerns come against taller receivers where the size difference becomes noticeable. I did not find many instances where he was overpowered by bigger receivers, but he will definitely need a little more size at the next level. Secondly, his tackling is not bad but it is not great. He does not have any issues making open field tackles, yet he needs work at supporting to run.

With defensive backs high in-demand, Baker will likely command a lot of attention from different NFL teams this offseason. With great instincts, natural ball skills, and the ability to play multiple positions at secondary, Baker is as good a prospect one will see this year.

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