In the never-ending saga, it appears that witnesses were paid off to say how New York Giant DeAndre Baker did not rob them when Baker and Seattle Seahawks Quinton Dunbar committed armed robbery over money lost in a game of Madden. While this is a sad story for Baker and Dunbar as it looks like both players will be released from their teams and lose millions of dollars over a game of Madden, the impact on the New York Giants might be mitigated. With the structure of the current roster, the Giants can survive without Baker.
Baker came to the Giants from a draft-day trade as the Giants brass traded a 2nd round pick, 4th round pick and 5th round pick to get Seattle’s 1st round pick, 30th overall to select Baker. When the pick was made many people fell in love with the pick because draft experts felt that Baker was a highly touted cornerback who could excel in the NFL. One of the reasons why Baker fell in the draft was because of off the field issues which manifested itself when committing armed robbery.
On the field, Baker did not live up to the expectations of the first-round draft choice. While in April many felt that Baker would be a strength for the Big Blue secondary Baker was a weak link in November. There was a point in the NFL season where Baker was ranked 115 out of 116 eligible corners according to Pro Football Focus with a grade 37.8. Baker did improve as the season went on as over the last six games of the season Baker had allowed a 48.5% completion percentage.
Yet during the 2020 offseason moves were made to further bolster the Giants secondary which proves even more important after Baker’s arrest. In free agency the G-Men procured the services of cornerback James Bradberry who will line up as cornerback number one in the Big Blue depth chart. This move was made to get an upgrade in talent at Baker’s position and is one move that shows the Giants can survive without DeAndre Baker.
There were also draft picks in 2020 that helped bolster the Giants secondary which will help negate the loss of Baker. In the 2nd round, 36th pick overall, the New York Giants selected from Alabama safety Xavier McKinney. McKinney appears to be a steal as there was a run made on offensive linemen in the 1st round on the 2020 NFL draft. Even though McKinney is not supposed to be a lockdown corner, a playmaker at safety will help make up for a potential loss of Baker. In the 4th round, the G-Men selected cornerback from UCLA Darnay Holmes, who given the recent events could be given an opportunity to compete for a starting spot at cornerback.
There could also be upgrades who were on Big Blue’s roster in 2019. One of the pleasant surprises of the 2019 season was the play of safety Julian Love who was the 4th round pick of the Giants in 2019. While playing both safety and nickel cornerback, Love received a grade of 70.5 for PFF. Based on Baker’s legal issues and the drafting of McKinney Love could be Baker’s replacement and the Giants can survive without DeAndre Baker. Jabrill Peppers is also still on the 2020 roster for the G-Men. Even though Peppers is not known as a run stopper Peppers has a 70.3 coverage grade. If Peppers, Love, and Bradberry stay healthy the Giants secondary will have three players who will have a pass coverage grade above 65.4 which is right at the NFL average. While the loss of Baker is disappointing the Giants have enough pieces to replace Baker and have Big Blue take a step forward on the defensive side of the ball.
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