3. Budda Baker
2017 – 2nd round, pick 36
After just two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, Budda Baker has already received both All-Pro and Pro-Bowl nods, albeit the awards were for special teams, but they are significant.
One of the primary reasons Steve Keim moved on from Tyrann Mathieu was due to Budda Baker’s ascension. As one of the highest rated safeties coming out of the 2017 draft class, the former Washington Husky has done nothing but live up to the hype.
Baker has gone from standout special teamer to standout nickel safety, to now starting safety for the 2019 season. And it’s no fluke as to why he’s ascended so quickly. The 5-10, 195-pound defender is versatile, rangy, and is one of the best tacklers in recent Arizona Cardinals memory.
While the third place rank may be high for a safety that hasn’t started a full season, this ranking, like others is dependent on the future. Many believe that Baker is not only is a key cog in the Arizona Cardinals defense but is also a building block for the future. Whether or not that comes to fruition is anyone’s best guess, but I’d be willing to bet that he is.