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Budda Baker settles in at free safety

The former second-round pick is seeking the first interception of his NFL career

Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Steve Keim has made many mistakes when it comes to draft picks. Fortunately for him, Budda Baker is not one of them.

Baker, the Cardinals 2017 second-round pick, has been quite productive in the first two seasons of his NFL career.

The former Washington Husky product began his professional career dominating on special teams, earning himself trip to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

Over the last two seasons, in display of his versatility, Baker was used in many subpackages. He played in the box, rushed the passer, was the primary nickel cornerback, and was used sparingly at safety. You are not going to find many safeties better than him stopping the run.

Statistically, he has accomplished a lot. He produced the first 100 tackle season of his career in 2018. He has already recorded three sacks and three forced fumbles in the last two years combined. Plus he has two fumble recoveries in his career, one returned for a touchdown.

Despite his productivity on the defense, Baker has yet to intercept a pass in the NFL. With the 23-year-old moving back to his natural position as a free safety in Vance Joseph’s defense, he should be able to accomplish that goal in the upcoming season.

Entering his third season with the Cardinals, it is Budda Baker’s time to finally breakout as the playmaker and turnover machine on the defense. Despite being undersized (5-10 195lbs), he plays big and has become one of the leaders on the Cardinals. He has the mental fortitude and work ethic that has made him one of the staples of this team.

He has been surrounded and mentored by some of the top safeties in the NFL with Tyrann Mathieu and Antoine Bethea as former teammates. With the jersey number change from #36 to #32, maybe Baker is turning the page from being a good football prospect to an elite safety.

The 2019 regular season is upon us and it should be a very big year for the Budda.