The New York Giants ended up with three first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, but only two of those players are likely to start this season: cornerback Deandre Baker and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Baker joins what was a once depleted secondary that now boats several new faces, including two other cornerbacks that were taken in the draft and a third that was taken in the third-round of the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft.
However, despite the suddenly crowded nature of things, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. expects Baker to excel.
In his recent list of instant-impact rookies, Kiper lists Baker front and center.
I was tough on the Giants in my draft grades, but it wasn’t because of the decision to trade back into the first round to take Baker, who started 35 games in his career at Georgia. He is the most pro-ready of the top group of cornerbacks in this class, and he can be a legitimate No. 1 corner. He’s going to play early and often for a New York defense that allowed 61 receptions of at least 20 yards last season, the second-most such passes in the league.
Janoris Jenkins has one corner spot locked down, but the other side is wide-open, with 2018 supplemental draft pick Sam Beal and rookies Julian Love and Corey Ballentine also competing with Baker.
The extremely confident Baker expects nothing less from himself, already dismissing the notion that he’s undersized and all but guaranteeing a significant impact in his rookie year.
“Size doesn’t really matter. As long as you can play, you help the team, you produce — that’s the biggest thing,” Baker told reporters at rookie minicamp. “I just come in and play my game and just show them they haven’t made a mistake by coming to get me. Just want to come in and help the team.”
The Giants, of course, anticipate Baker doing exactly that.