Mel Kiper Jr. has Deandre Baker as top cornerback in 2019 NFL Draft
The 2019 NFL Draft is less than a month away, as the first round is set for April 25. And there’s a good chance that Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker is the first cornerback taken when that day comes.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Baker going with the No. 20 overall selection in his latest 2019 NFL mock draft. Baker is slated to go to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has Baker a little lower on his big board, as the former Georgia defensive back is rated his No. 30 overall player. Jeremiah rates Baker as the No. 3 cornerback.
“He is fluid when he turns and opens up, and he has enough speed to carry vertical routes,” Jeremiah said of Baker. “He is a little sticky when he has to gear down and work downhill versus comebacks and curls. He doesn’t have a lot of ball production, but he rarely gives up plays down the field. Against the run, he is very productive when he’s unchecked, but he will get stuck on blocks at times. Overall, Baker is very competitive, and he has the versatility to play at a high level in multiple schemes.”
Not all agree on Baker’s status as a first rounder. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report has Baker going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round with the No. 39 pick.
Last week, Baker improved on his athletic testing at Georgia’s pro day. Afterwards, Baker made it very clear that he believed he was the top cornerback in the 2019 NFL Draft.
“I know I’m the best cornerback in the draft,” Baker said. “I don’t just believe it, I know I’m the best. … My film speaks for itself. My stats, everything. My production, week in and week out. You go back to 2017 or the first day I started I was the best cornerback in the nation.”
Baker won the 2018 Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation’s top defensive back. In his final two years at Georgia, Baker finished with 5 interceptions while not surrendering a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver in any game.
As for some other Georgia prospects, Miller has the New England Patriots selecting Mecole Hardman in the third round with the No. 73 pick. Georgia outside linebacker D’Andre Walker, who did not go through drills at Georgia’s pro day as he continues to recover from injury, is projected to go to the Baltimore Ravens with the No. 102 overall pick.
Jeremiah has Ridley ranked as the No. 36 overall prospect on his board. Other than Baker and Ridley, no Georgia player ranks on the top 50 on Jeremiah’s board.
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