Washington’s Budda Baker is one of the more interesting prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft based on his high-end athleticism but lack of even average size.
Budda Baker is best described as a playmaker who is routinely around the football. He uses a combination of elite explosiveness and instincts to attack the ball carrier. His impact can be felt in both the passing and running game.
It’s hard to do an evaluation on Baker with mentioning his lack of size. He lacks ideal height and bulk for the safety position. This is an issue he has been able to overcome at the college level, but will be more challenging in the NFL.
The biggest problems will arise when he’s forced to match up with bigger receivers. Those big-bodied targets will be about to out leap and muscle the smaller Baker.
Another concern is durability as Baker will take the majority of the punishment when he comes up to support the run. He’s an aggressive defender who attacks the line of scrimmage looking to deliver a big hit. It’s possible some of those collisions could result in missed time.
Baker’s aggressiveness, feel for the game and playmaking ability help overcome the size issue. This is a versatile defender who can lineup in the deep middle and work out of the slot. It’s possible that his best position at the next level will be as a slot corner who can shift to other spots on the field in sub-packages.
As much as I want to look past the size concerns, it’s hard to feel comfortable giving him a 1st or 2nd round grade. NFL offensive coordinators excel at finding the mismatch and Baker will be the prime target each week.