How could this season get any more bizarre for the San Francisco 49ers? By Signing a 23-year-old cornerback who was under investigation on four counts of robbery with a firearm after initially being charged with four counts of armed robbery and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm for allegedly taking jewelry and cash at gunpoint during a dice game.
Those charges were dropped against DeAndre Baker, a first-round cornerback out of Georgia from 2019. Baker is currently a free agent and free to sign with any team and isn’t subject to waivers. Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reported that the Chiefs, Bengals, Jaguars, Cowboys, and the 49ers had made inquiries about signing Baker.
San Francisco being interested in a cornerback makes sense, as Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett, and K’Waun Williams are all unrestricted free agents after this season. Emmanuel Moseley is a restricted free agent. It makes sense to place a second-round tender on Moseley. Knowing the future of the cornerback position on this team is in question, why not try and add a player before the end of the season to see if he could be a part of your future?
Baker was also accused of sleeping through meetings on multiple occasions by his teammates. It’s a bit surprising to see the Niners interested, knowing all of the reports about Baker’s character. You have to imagine the team will do its due diligence on Baker’s background.
So, who is DeAndre Baker? He’s played one season in the NFL. During 2019, Baker allowed more touchdowns (8) than he had passes defended (7). Baker ranked 46th in success rate at 52% and allowed 9.1 yards per adjusted pass, which was 70th last season among cornerbacks. Baker was fine against the run, but he was often out of place in coverage and rarely in a position to make a play on passes. Baker lacks a second gear, and when you cannot recover as a cornerback, teams will pick on you.
I reached out to Charles McDonald of the New York Daily News to get his take on Baker, the player. Here’s what he said:
Dre has good ball skills but generally struggles to get himself in a position to use those ball skills. His athleticism was a big problem for him early in the year as a rookie. If he got beat off the line in press, it’s likely a recovery wasn’t happening because of his speed. When they played off, he struggled to redirect. He might have some upside as a solid CB2 if he can figure out how to keep up with the legitimate starting receivers in this league.
If you want hope or optimism about what Deandre Baker can be moving forward, his game against the Dolphins at the end of the season last year is probably the best indicator of his potential. Still, he was a big work in progress before the legal troubles and now has to climb back into football shape. I will say, at this point in the season, there are worse cornerback fliers than a former first round pick and Jim Thorpe award winner.
Baker may be best suited as a nickel cornerback where he could use his physicality and aggression against the run. He also could serve as a depth piece/special teamer, but, based on what we saw in 2019, it’s hard to imagine Baker being an upgrade over Verrett or Moseley.
Should the 49ers sign Baker?
Should the 49ers take a chance on Baker?
This poll is closed