The general rule-of-thumb for NFL executives is a 3-year window to judge a draft pick. This is understandable since rookies aren’t usually ready for the field. However, rookies don’t often look entirely as lost as New York Giants‘ rookie DeAndre Baker.
He’s allowed a 70.4% completion percentage. He’s also allowed 38 of 54 targets to be completed for four touchdowns with a 130 quarterback rating allowed as well. It’s too early to call him a bust, but the arrow isn’t pointing up for DeAndre Baker at the moment.
Here are a few reasons the New York Giants shouldn’t be surprised:
Red Flag #1 – Supply and Demand
When DeAndre Baker lasted up to 30th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, many were surprised the first cornerback came off the board so late. In the last five years, the longest we’ve waited for a cornerback to come off the board was pick 11.
There are always teams in pressing need of cornerback help. Knowing the chances only get harder to find quality players as the draft goes on, plenty of teams were willing to count themselves out at the cornerback position in favor of other players.
Usually, when such a premium position like cornerback starts sliding to this extent, it’s because teams don’t find the first cornerback available to be worthy of their pick.
Red Flag #2 – Attitude
DeAndre Baker didn’t do much to help himself at the combine, or the end of his career as a BullDog.
Here’s one reaction:
“In speaking to team sources, they feel that Baker’s tape and talent level should have him going in the No. 10-15 range of the 1st round, but they believe he will slide some because he has off-the-field issues and has not interviewed well with teams during the lead up to the 2019 NFL Draft.” A quote coming from Walterfootball.com.
This next report came from The Athens Banner-Herald, a newspaper that was based out of Georgia:
He said if he falls in the draft, it may be partly because of “some frustration from the coaching staff,” and not because he sat out of the Sugar Bowl, “but being around and not being the best influence” leading up to the game. This was written by Marc Weiszer, who covers the Georgia Bulldogs.
Baker always seemed to have a different demeanor and attitude than most of Dave Gettleman’s investments. He doesn’t radiate that level of “culture” or compassion most of Gettleman’s players have.
Red Flag #3 – Player Profile
After DeAndre Baker ran his 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds, USA Today’s Doug Farrar said Baker wasn’t “quite as prepared” for the event.
At 5’11 and 190 lbs, running a 4.52 isn’t ideal on the perimeter. However, he gave headline wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Deebo Samuel, and plenty of other wide receivers issues on the outside.
Based on covering those players well, Baker probably can run a little faster than what was represented at the combine. He also didn’t give up a touchdown for two straight seasons. This makes the possibility of dogging the 40-yard dash sound more and more likely, as Doug Farrar suggested.
DeAndre Baker also didn’t participate in any of the agility/acceleration drills at the combine (shuttle workouts and 3-cone).
With James Bettcher running off-man schemes for the majority of the time ( man-coverage with 5-10 yards of cushion), it would’ve been a prudent measure to make sure DeAndre Baker can play that way, which requires top-end acceleration and agility.
“Tough, scrappy” were just a couple of strengths that came to Dan Quinn’s mind when asked about DeAndre Baker.
Does that sound like an off-man cornerback or someone who presses off the line of scrimmage? Either Dan Quinn or James Bettcher is wrong about this. They can’t both be right about his strengths while Baker is currently being used sometimes 10 yards off the line of scrimmage.
To top it all off, Baker referred to not maximizing his studies as a rookie last week. When asked about his struggles, this was his response: “The playbook — just knowing the plays. Knowing what I need to do. Knowing my assignment.”
The expectations should’ve always been low for a rookie cornerback, but it sounds like DeAndre Baker knows how to get in the way of his progression. Specific signs of this possibility were always evident. Whether Dave Gettleman and the New York Giants took these Red Flags seriously or not is a different story.