The 2019 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Georgia Cornerback Deandre Baker has been the Bulldogs’ number one corner for the past few seasons and has entered his name into the 2019 NFL Draft. His play could warrant him being the first corner off the board.
2018 stats: 40 total tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, nine passes defended, one forced fumble
Size: 5-foot-11, 193 pounds
For any corner to be considered the best in the draft class, they either have to make plays or shut down the opponents’ best wide receivers. In his time at Georgia Baker has shown the ability to do both, which has solidified his status as one of the top players in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Baker has 116 total tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack, seven interceptions, 23 passes defended, one fumble recovery and two fumbles forced at Georgia. In 2017, Baker was the top corner on the team and his play helped lead Georgia to the National Championship Game. This season, Baker was a leader on a very young defense and still produced at a high level. He has plenty of experience over his career and has guarded some of college football’s top receivers.
As a prospect who could have left school for the draft after last season, Baker actually improved his stock over the last year. Now, he should be selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Baker is one of the true shut-down cornerbacks in the class. There were a lot of games in college where he wouldn’t allow a catch to the receiver he was guarding. He stays attached to the wide receiver and makes plays when he needs to. A lot of times quarterbacks wouldn’t throw to his side of the field due to how good he is in coverage. He also is solid in zone coverage, as he reads the quarterback’s eyes and reacts to that.
While he doesn’t get thrown at or targeted in opponents’ passing games, Baker holds his own when the ball is thrown his way. He has tremendous ball skills to break up almost any pass. He intercepts balls that he can get both hands on. For plays that he can’t get his head around or get both hands on the ball, he is able to break up the pass with one hand. Baker can rip away the ball from a receiver’s hands too if necessary.
He has great football IQ for a cornerback and displays it in many different situations. Baker reads the quarterback’s eyes in zone coverage, but is also able to anticipate where the quarterback will go with the ball. He knows when he is in man coverage and when he has help over the top. He also reads the wide receiver’s eyes in man coverage, which allows him to make plays on the ball without having to turn his head or break his stride.
Baker is fast and can keep up with wide receivers, but his hips aren’t fluid. When he has to turn his hips he loses momentum and can get beat. He was also beat on some slant routes because he would have to move his hips to get into position to trail the receiver. In college, he was able to cover this up most games, but in the NFL he may not be so lucky.
Another area that Baker could use some improvement is his play strength. His lack of play strength hurts him in both his run support and pass defense. Against the run, he has trouble shedding blocks to get to the ball carrier which could be prevented with some added strength. With added play strength, he will also be able to make more tackles when he gets to the ball carrier.
NFL receivers will be able to beat him in press coverage because most of them will have more strength than him. He’ll also be susceptible to push-offs that the refs don’t call. If he adds some strength, he could hold his own at the line of scrimmage and prevent push-offs.
Projected Draft Range: Top 20 Pick