With the 30th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected cornerback Deandre Baker of Georgia. Here are five things to know about the new Giant:
Baker was the 2018 winner of the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back. He was also a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defender.
He started all 13 games last season and recorded 40 total stops, two interceptions (team high) and 10 pass breakups (team high), two tackles for lost yardage, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
NFL.com scouting report: Consistency and competitiveness are his hallmarks. No touchdowns allowed with five interceptions since 2017. Confident in press coverage. Crowds release-acceleration to slow route-timing. Has quick trigger to turn and sprint when needed. Foot quickness to stay tied to early phase of routes. Dials into opponents’ route speed and stays in-phase. Good feel for timing of route breaks for effective matching. Excellent field awareness and in constant state of communication with teammates. Loves to squat and lurk on underneath route from off-man. Impressive burst to close. Plays the edges to challenge throws. Good timing on jump balls. Aggressive and accurate swipes at the catch point. Willing and able as open-field tackler.
Measurables: Height – 5-11; Weight – 193 lbs.; Arms – 32”; Hands – 9”; 40-yard dash – 4.52 sec.; Bench press – 14 reps; Broad jump – 118”
He was a Second-Team All-SEC selection as a junior in 2017, finishing the season with 44 total stops. He led the Bulldogs in pass breakups with nine, including three vs. South Carolina, and was also second on team with three interceptions. His final pick of the year came vs. Alabama in CFP Championship Game.
The most impressive player at rookie camp for the New York Giants has been first-round draft pick, Deandre Baker, out of Georgia.
The cornerback was physical and instinctual as he flashed serious potential in his first action with the Giants. The idea for Baker is to start alongside veteran Janoris Jenkins as the No. 2 option, but bigger plans are undoubtedly in his future.
The Giants also managed to grab star corner from Notre Dame, Julian Love, in the fourth round of the draft. This was a great value pick and a potential steal as general manager Dave Gettleman looks to change the narrative on a thin secondary.
Baker will need the experience at the professional level to take on a top-role, something he might find himself in after the 2020 season. Jenkins’ contract ends after 2020, and it’s unlikely the Giants elect to bring him back considering his age and inconsistency. In 2016, Jenkins was graded as a top-5 corner in the league, but the negative atmosphere in the locker room during the 2017 campaign saw his effectiveness plummet – he’s not much of a leader.
The New York Giants did a great job addressing the secondary in the draft:
Baker has the skill-set to emerge as the top corner for Big Blue, a team in need of significant help at the position.
“I just come in and play my game and just show them they haven’t made a mistake by coming to get me,’’ Baker said Friday at Giants rookie minicamp. “Just want to come in and help the team.’’
The Giants brass valued Baker as a first-round talent, and they were right to move up from 37th to 30th to pluck him off the board. Multiple corners were snatched up following the pick including Byron Murphy and Greedy Williams. Gettleman sent his second-rounder, fourth and fifth-round picks to move up for the top-rated corner.
There’s a great expectation for the Georgia product in New York, as he enters the countrey’s biggest football market in hopes of upgrading the unit. Pairing him with Jenkins, though, should give him the leverage and necessary experience required to take his game to the next level.