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Falcons Move Back Into Round One and Draft OT Baker

Baker

The Falcons, already happy with getting their next franchise QB, moved back into the first round Saturday and got Matt Ryan or whoever plays QB some help, as they nabbed OT Sam Baker from USC. Baker is 6-foot-4, and 309 pounds, and while his stock seemed to drop as the draft got near, the Falcons had seen enough of him to want to move up and get him.

Here is the lowdown on Baker from NFLdraftcountdown.com

Strengths:
Has a large frame with long arms and some growth potential…Athletic with terrific feet…Quick, agile and moves well…Very smart with good awareness…Technically sound…Uses his hands well…Plays with pretty good leverage…Great balance…A natural left tackle..Fine character..Has a lot of experience against top competition.

Weaknesses:
Needs to bulk up and add weight…Has to get stronger…Lacks a nasty demeanor and killer instinct…Toughness has been questioned..An average run blocker..Gets pushed back at the point…Not overly powerful…Has some minor durability issues.

Notes:
Father, David, is the commissioner of the Arena Football League and also played basketball at UC Irvine…Brother, Ben, was an offensive lineman at Duke…Was a four-year starter in the Pac 10…Began his college career as an offensive guard in ’03…May be overrated and a product of hype to a certain degree…Finesse blocker who won’t be a good fit for every team but has an intriguing set of physical tools that could make him a hot commodity on Draft Day…A bit of a polarizing prospect.

And here is ESPN’s take on Baker:

Injuries hindered Baker during his senior season at USC and his draft stocked dropped considerably leading up to the draft. In addition, he isn’t a physical run-blocker who is going to consistently drive defenders off the ball. Six tackles have been drafted thus far, and Baker had been a top-three tackle prospects before his senior season. In addition, the Falcons’ greatest offensive need is at tackle. Although Baker doesn’t dominate the point of attack as much as you would like for a first-round offensive tackle, he moves well, gets into position quickly and can sustain his blocks once he’s locked onto the defender.


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