Fit with the Atlanta Falcons
Should the Atlanta Falcons select Deandre Baker with pick number 14 in the 2019 NFL Draft, Baker would likely be given the opportunity to compete with Isaiah Oliver and Damontae Kazee for the second and third cornerback spots. This presents a problem as one of these highly touted players would be awarded very few snaps. Damontae Kazee who lead the NFL in interceptions, would likely be the odd man out.
The main concern about Deandre Baker as a Falcon is scheme fit. He certainly fits the bill of playing press coverage well, but he does not contain the unique size that Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn covets. Baker also doesn’t have the top end speed, to be an ideal fit for the Atlanta Falcons defensive scheme. He also doesn’t have the fluidity in his hips to play the slot on a regular basis, meaning he should be used exclusively as an outside cornerback.
Deandre Baker’s talent would be maximized in a cover-2 style defense, that allows him to play press coverage while having safety help over the top. There would be no guarantee that a safety would always be over the top in the Atlanta Falcons single high safety style defense. Additionally Deandre would be asked to cover a third of the field at times in zone coverage. That is not ideal for his game. The Atlanta Falcons also mix in quite a bit of off coverage, where as Deandre Baker needs to play in a more press based scheme.
I believe that despite his limitations, Deandre Baker will be an impact starter in the NFL. For what he lacks in speed, Baker makes up for it with technique, footwork, angles and intelligence. The player that I feel Baker could most resemble should he reach his ceiling, is former New England Patriots great Ty Law. I have no doubt that Deandre Baker is going to be a very good football player. What I do doubt, is that Baker would be a good fit for the Atlanta Falcons defense.