NAME: DeAndre Baker
WEIGHT: 180 pounds
Defense, defense, defense. That should be the focus for the Chiefs offseason and draft plans, once again. As we begin our list of possible Chiefs draft prospects, let’s kickoff by looking at a cornerback that has been a constant pick for Kansas City in recent NFL mock drafts.
The best attribute of Baker’s game is how well he plays in man coverage. Baker mirrors receivers and is rarely fooled by releases. Baker thrives in press coverage the most, but he can also stay on top of receivers by playing off-man coverage. When playing off-man, Baker does a good job of communicating with his safety or slot corner when needing to switch off routes.
When playing press coverage, Baker loves to show his strength and how feisty he can be with receivers. Baker does a good job of not overdoing this though and stays in check while in coverage. If Baker can play inside and bump receivers off of their feet in routes down the field, he can usually stay with burner type of receivers. At times, Baker is so feisty that he will completely finish the receiver’s route for them. By doing this, he beats them to the end of the route, resulting in pass breakups or interceptions.
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Unlike some NFL cornerbacks, Baker is ready to make a tackle in run support or down the field. Baker’s toughness and fight allow for a violent tackle where he will wrap up ball carriers. Too many cornerbacks do not wrap up, whereas Baker is much more impactful as this type of player.
Baker’s speed is not awful, but he is not great at staying with the much more quick, smaller receivers. With the communication he uses with other defenders, some of that is not completely seen on tape. But, there is a definite difference in speed compared to someone such as Darius Slay or Marlon Humphrey. When Baker reads or anticipates a throw he is more likely to keep up with a faster receiver. Overall, this issue is very minimal and Baker’s other traits make up for his lack of quickness.
With the different looks that new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo displays, Baker can be put on the best matchup needed for him, while still be used to where he feels comfortable in his skillset. Baker in Cover2 is a little more of a plus than what he produces in Cover3. This should not be a problem though for Kansas City, where they can keep Baker primarily outside and have Kendall Fuller play primarily in the slot. Baker would also provide an immediate impact to the Chiefs, who finished 31st in pass defense last season.
Thank you for reading. As the NFL Draft is approaching, be sure to check out Full Press Coverage for a variety of prospect profiles.