With the 36th-overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals selected Budda Baker, a safety out of the University of Washington.
Baker might not have great size for a safety, but he certainly has everything else. The Washington product has elite speed and shows instincts on film that should have him at the right spot more often than not. In a conference loaded with top offensive talent, it was Baker who continuously shined in the Huskies’ secondary alongside Sidney Jones in 2016.
Named a first-team All-Pac-12 last year, Baker earned his way into the conversation of elite safeties in this draft. While Malik Hooker and Jamal Adams were always going to be first and second, the general consensus was that Baker was top five, along with Jabrill Peppers and Obi Melifonwu.
Bench: 15 reps
Maybe Baker’s biggest strength is his ability to read and react before coming downhill and delivering a jarring hit. In this sense, the junior is far beyond his years. It will be interesting to see how versatile he becomes in the NFL, with the notion that he could play slot receivers. You won’t see him guarding larger receivers or tight ends, as he would be at a severe disadvantage.
Regardless, this was a solid pick. Baker is a player with ample upside with limited downside based on his tape throughout college.