New York Giants: Deandre Baker gives secondary much-needed boost

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images /

The New York Giants upgraded their secondary when they drafted cornerback Deandre Baker in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman used his third selection of the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft — which he traded up to acquire — on cornerback Deandre Baker. The University of Georgia product was the first corner selected and comes with an impressive resume. Baker won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2018, the honor is given to the top defensive back in the nation. He also was a Consensus All-American last year in the rough-and-tumble SEC.

The Miami native had two interceptions, a team-high 10 passes defensed and a forced fumble for the Bulldogs last year. Opponents simply did not throw his way that often. Look for Baker to step into the left cornerback slot opposite veteran Janoris Jenkins this coming season for the G-Men.

Let’s take a look at some of Baker’s highlights:

I watched several Bulldogs games last year and viewed a lot of film, and the 5-11, 193-pounder should excel on the next level as an aggressive press corner with a live motor and real competitive juices.

Baker stood out in the premier conference in college football, so that should serve him well as he adjusts to life in the NFL. He is slightly built so an extra five pounds of muscle wouldn’t hurt against bigger, more physical NFL wide receivers. Baker does not have elite speed but he’s quick, has fine balance and stays tight in coverage due to his superior athletic ability and football IQ.

A former all-state track star in high school, Baker ran a 4.52 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in February and, during his time in Athens allowed zero touchdowns with five interceptions over his last two campaigns. The video clearly shows how physical he is and how hard he is to separate from. Baker has long arms and premier instincts on opposition route-running. He’s also a little underrated as a stout tackler in the open field.

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Baker clearly has the ceiling to be a Pro Bowl performer. He has superior ball skills and closing speed on the football. He’ll help a Big Blue squad that ranked 23rd in the league in passing yards per game (252.8) in 2018. This was a no-brainer pick by Gettleman. Look for Baker to start in the defensive backfield from Day 1. He looks like a star in the making.