DeAndre Baker might not have been blessed with all-world speed, but he has something that a lot of faster guys lack: heart and determination.
Ranked as Pro Football Focus' 16th best prospect (out of 32) before the NFL draft, Baker finished with a coverage grade of 93.5 over the past three seasons, second behind Byron Murphy of Washington in this year's class.
Baker mostly worked as an outside corner at Georgia, but again, despite his lack of elite speed, he was the very definition of a shutdown corner, according to Pro Football Focus, who had the following to say about Baker as a prospect.
Baker was incredibly stingy when it came to shutting down opposing wide receivers, ranking in the top-five in terms of fewest yards allowed (175), fewest touchdowns allowed (0) and lowest NFL passer rating allowed (40.2) among cornerbacks who saw at least 300 coverage snaps in this draft class in 2018. He wasn’t a one-year wonder in that regard either, with Baker allowing just 23 receptions for 295 yards, no touchdowns and an NFL passer rating allowed of 32.7 in 2017. If you’re keeping the score at home, that means that Baker didn’t allow a single touchdown on 870 coverage snaps over the past two seasons. In fact, in his four-year career at Georgia, Baker allowed just one touchdown on 1,019 coverage snaps. Baker performed well against the best opponents he faced too, producing a 92.1 PFF coverage grade against Power 5 opponents over the past three seasons.
The future at cornerback for the Giants looks very bright indeed if Baker can bring that production with him to the NFL.
When we last left the Giants, Sam Beal was working opposite Janoris Jenkins, with Baker working primarily with the second-string defense. However make no mistake about it: If Baker is healthy, he's going to contribute a lot during games as the coaches continue to groom him to succeed Jenkins down the line eventually.
"He is a talented guy," Giants defensive backs coach Everett Withers said of Baker.
"When you watch his tape, he is a guy with a lot of competitive experience. He is talented enough to go over there and be a factor over there opposite Janoris."
Baker just needs to win that competition.