The Kansas City Chiefs recently signed former New York Giants CB DeAndre Baker to the practice squad. The former 2019 first-round draft pick was recently cleared of all charges that led to his release from his former team.
The decision to sign Baker was an easy one from the perspective of the Chiefs. Cornerback coach Sam Madison gave his evaluation of Baker and the decision to bring him back when he spoke to the media on Thursday.
“A press corner, a physical guy, a ball hawk, a guy that’s always around the football,” Madison said of Baker. “I’ve known this kid for a very long time, from Florida. We don’t really know, so we just want to get him in the building, get him used to the Kansas City way of doing things and implementing that. When you have an opportunity to get a first-round talent and implement him into your scheme and your system. Brett Veach and Coach Reid did an awesome job of having an opportunity to get him. Getting him and getting him caught up to speed on the way that we do things, that’s going to be the most important part.”
Baker will work to get up to speed when it comes to learning the defensive scheme while he’s on the practice squad. Despite some struggles as a rookie in New York, Madison is confident that he’ll be able to put Baker into a position in which he’ll see success with the Chiefs.
“It’s going to start right here and it’s going to start up here,” Madison said. “It’s our job to get him into a position to be successful. When we were doing and I was doing my evaluation of him, I thought if I had the opportunity to work with him, as well as Coach (Dave) Merrit, I think that we’d be able to get him into the position. And that’s what we’re going to have to do, you know. (Brett) Veach brings the talent and Coach Reid brings it and it’s our job to get them to playing fast, understanding the system and you know believing in themselves. And that’s one of the things with the group of guys that we have in our room, they don’t shy away from work.”
While the plan is to eventually elevate Baker to the 53-man roster, nothing will be given to him. Madison emphasized that he’ll have to earn a role in his already talented room.
“Being that he’s been out of football for a time and a while now, he just has to catch up to speed and the speed of the room,” Madison continued. “Having guys like (Bashaud) Breeland, Tyrann (Mathieu), and (Charvarius) Ward as well, who has picked up his level of play, he’s going to have to fit in exactly where these guys are and understanding that we do still have some very talented young corners on our team. (L’Jarius) Sneed as well as Bo Keyes and the rest of the guys — (Rashad) Fenton. Seeing the way that we’ve played so far, hopefully, you’ve just got to add to what his skillset is to what we already have in the room.”
The hope is that Baker will show the work ethic and promise to carve out his own role within the Chiefs’ defensive secondary. What exactly that will look like remains to be seen. If he can manage to get up to speed over the next few weeks, you could perhaps see an elevation to the 53-man roster before the regular season comes to an end.
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