ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler surveyed multiple members in the NFL to rank their top ten players at a variety of positions.
As a result Arizona Cardinals’ All-Pro Safety, Budda Baker was ranked as the third-best safety in the league. Baker fell behind Minkah Fitzpatrick and Justin Simmons. This is high praise, but it is well deserved. Baker has been underappreciated due to his lack of turnovers. He secured his first interception during his fourth season in the league.
Eyebrows were raised after he inked a four-year 59 million dollar extension last fall. The former Washington Huskie is one of the most impactful defensive backs. There is a misconception that Baker is a “box safety” because of his ridiculous tackle production. He uses his high football intelligence to diagnose plays as a deep safety and possesses the athleticism to trigger downhill to make the play.
Baker was not an easy defensive back to target in the passing game. Per Rotowire, he was targeted 25 times allowing 12 receptions for 133 yards, two touchdowns, and 48% completion. Also, he allowed a measly 5.3 yards per attempt and a quarterback rating of 57.6.
Budda Baker is not a “ball hawk” and that is fine. His impact will be felt against the run, blitzing the quarterback, and attacking/cutting off underneath routes. As seen on this play against Andy Dalton and the Dallas Cowboys.
Budda’s recognition is insane. He read the route and Dalton so quick. The explosion to drive on the ball is masterful.— Damian Parson (@DP_NFL) October 20, 2020
Over the past three seasons, Baker has accumulated 367 tackles. His value to the Cardinals’ defense goes beyond interceptions and pass breakups. I am pleased to see Baker receiving such high praise and recognition from his fraternity. He is without a doubt one of the best safeties in football, he proves it week in and out.