Budda Baker and the Heart to Size Ratio
What Budda Baker lacks in size, he more than makes up for with hard work and effort
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Mark Twain
For Budda Baker, that could be a mantra, and not because he played for the Huskies in college. At 5”10″ and less than 200 lbs, he isn’t the most obvious candidate to be one of the best safeties to come out of this year’s NFL Draft. That’s exactly what he is, though.
In his final season at Washington, Baker did a little of everything. He was all over the field making tackles, totaling 70 for the year, and 9 1/2 for a loss. He had three sacks, five passes defensed, two interceptions, and forced a fumble as well. The Huskies had a talented secondary, but Baker was its most versatile player.
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Despite his less-than-ideal size, Baker found himself as a potential first round pick in this year’s draft. As the process moved along, he found himself slipping, though, eventually completely out of round one. His fall was eventually halted by the Arizona Cardinals, who have some experience with drafting undersized playmakers.
Tyrann Mathieu is even smaller than Baker, but like his new teammate, made a name for himself as a game changer. As a professional, Mathieu has become a valuable chess piece, able to play multiple spots, as needed. Baker will likely do the same, moving from free safety, to nickle corner, or even on the edge, or as a blitzer, as needed.
The Cardinals feel like they got a steal, and even traded up to draft Baker. Arizona’s secondary has some questions after free agency claimed more than one contributor to last year’s team.
Baker is up to the challenge. Pretty much every team passed on him in the draft. He’ll remember it too, and he’ll look to make them regret it. Call him under-sized, an injury risk, or too small. He doesn’t care. He’s heard it before, and he uses it as motivation. Those slights just make the chip on his shoulder even bigger.
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Expect Baker to do everything he can to make the Cardinals a better team. His talents are obvious, but he’s a hard worker, and has a palpable drive to be the best. Fans are going to love him. There’s plenty of fight in this Husky, and 31 teams that didn’t pick him are going to see it very soon.