As if having an All-American name wasn’t enough, Budda Baker was a 2nd team All-American this season after leading Washington’s stout defense to the College Football Playoff. Originally an Oregon commit, Baker flipped to UW the night before signing day – and the decision has paid dividends. Baker is set to be a high draft pick this upcoming April. He’s been a reliable force for the Huskies throughout his career, and brokeout in 2016 with 8.5 tackles for loss and a pair of interceptions. He will be a longtime starter in the NFL.
Name: Budda Baker
Draft Grade: Early 2nd Round
Look how physical Budda Baker is on the blitz – tossing the RB to the ground & disrupting Darnold’s pass re… https://t.co/0WlSkQHa3C
— Jonathan Valencia (@JonValencia_WiB) December 17, 2016
Positives: Exceptional instincts. Quick to diagnose and recognize plays. Tremendous reaction time. Smart player. Very strong tackler. Rarely gets beat on tackle opportunities in the open field. Trusted last line of defense. Allows minimal yardage after contact with ball carrier. Closes in on plays like he’s shot out of a cannon. Effective blitzer with burst who takes good routes into the backfield. Quick in pursuit. Sheds blocks well and can make tackles off of them. Good leadership ability and has become a more vocal leader in his junior season. Will be only 21 years old during his entire rookie campaign.
Negatives: Unsteady footwork on backdrop working out of the slot – jittery and twitchy. Gets beat off press more often than not. Sloppy recovery when he lets receiver get past him. On extended plays shows happy feet when back in zone – looks too anxious to make something happen. At times takes poor angles in run defense. Not ideal size.
Outlook: Baker is a solid all around safety. He’s not the most dynamic athlete, but his instincts, smarts and reaction time make up for that. He’s one of the best and most reliable tackling safeties in the draft class. Listed as a free safety on Washington’s depth chart, but better suited at strong safety – can play either position. Often lines up in the box and frequently patrols the slot – can play back as a centerfielder as well. Baker can do it all, and while he’s a bit undersized and not the most polarizing athlete, he’s a strong, reliable player in the defensive backfield. Should be off the board early in day 2, but definitely deserves 1st round consideration.