Cardinals safety earns impressive recognition from NFL analyst

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Budda Baker
(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Budda Baker /

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker was recently ranked near the top of a list featuring the top current safeties in the NFL. analyst DeAngelo Hall recently shared his list of the 10 best safeties in the NFL, and Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker just missed out on the top slot. Hall, a former NFL defensive back, ranked Baker at No. 2 on his list, surpassing names like Tyrann Mathieu, Jamal Adams, and Jessie Bates.

Only Minkah Fitzpatrick of the Pittsburgh Steelers ranked higher than Baker on the list. Still, the Cardinals safety is finally getting the recognition and respect he deserves from around the league.

Earlier in the offseason, Pro Football Focus ranked Baker as the 16th-best safety in the NFL. It was a surprisingly low ranking given the Arizona safety’s selection as a First-Team All-Pro in 2020.

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker finally gets some respect from an NFL analyst

Shortly after PFF’s ranking, CBS Sports’ Tom Sullivan also ranked the three-time Pro Bowler outside the top 10. It left everyone in the Red Sea wondering how not one, but two supposedly credible sources could rank a two-time First-Team All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler heading into his fifth season even remotely outside of the top 10.

So kudos to Hall for doing the homework those at PFF and CBS Sports either overlooked or did not consider.

Some of us might say that Hall should have ranked Baker as the top safety in the league. But it’s also fair to say that at this point, Fitzpatrick is the top player at the position since he has dazzled out on the field ever since the Steelers shipped a first-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for him in 2019.

And Hall has credible statistics to back up Baker’s ranking. For one, Baker and Jordan Poyer of the Buffalo Bills (No. 10) were the only safeties in football to record, in the words of Hall, “at least 100 tackles, two sacks, and two interceptions in 2020.”

It will be interesting to see how Baker builds follows up his successful 2020 campaign on what has the potential to be an outstanding Cardinals defense this season.

Joining the All-Pro Arizona safety this year is the potential dynamic duo at linebacker in Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons, pass-rushers Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt, cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Byron Murphy, and fellow safety Jalen Thompson.

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If Baker and the Cardinals defense stay healthy, something they had a tough time with last season, they can easily compete for an NFC West championship in 2021, and the star safety will lead the charge.