The Giants felt the need to trade back into the first round in the 2019 NFL Draft to get DeAndre Baker, who the team's highest-graded cornerback coming out of Georgia.
It hasn't looked that way so far this season, though.
Baker has certainly been going through rookie struggles, with a Pro Football Focus grade of 37.8 on the season thus far. He just seems to have a big miscue almost every contest, and that definitely goes for Monday Night Football against the Cowboys when -- on 3rd-and-12 for Dallas -- he played in zone coverage while everyone else was in man and Amari Cooper broke out a 45-yard touchdown run.
But, even though Sam Beal is back off the IR and Corey Ballentine saw productive snaps last game, head coach Pat Shurmur said Baker will be getting the start on Sunday against the Jets. And it sounds like Jets head coach Adam Gase is going to be throwing the ball his way...a lot.
Gase praised Janoris Jenkins' skill set on Tuesday, and when asked a follow up about Baker, this was his answer...
"Yeah, I mean when you have a guy like Janoris on one side, you're going to get targets on the opposite side," he said. "There's been some times where you can see you're a rookie and you get thrown a whole bunch of different concepts at you, and you think you're right then all of a sudden something else happens. I'm sure the coach is like, 'Nope, you got to do this. This should be your rule.' There's a lot of things he probably hasn't seen and you got to play through those type of things. We'll kinda see how they'll play us.
"They've done some different stuff throughout the year. Each team's been a little different how they've played them, so we gotta kinda see what the theme for us [will be]. If I can tell you, 'Hey, it's going to be Cover 1 the whole game.' Then, if it was him and Robby [Anderson] or something, then maybe that's an opportunity for us to have a matchup against him. But I don't know how they're going to play us."
Gase knows full well that Baker is working through struggles, and needing a win himself, he'll want to take advantage of that.
Other than that Pro Football Focus grade, here's some more background on Baker through his career nine games:
- Allows a 141.7 passer rating
- 75 % catch rate allowed
- Has allowed 30 receptions on 40 targets
- allowed 461 total yards (57.6 per game)
Those are not the numbers you want to see from a first-round draft pick, yet Baker continues to go out there for Big Blue. He even admitted after the Cowboys matchup that he needs to improve learning the playbook, as there's been too many mix-ups on his assignments. Exhibit A was that Cooper play.
But this good be the game where Baker begins to make a comeback. The Jets' offense is last in the league by a mile, as they can't get anything going. They couldn't get passed the winless Dolphins in Miami last week.
If Baker wants to remain on the first-team, he must have a good week against a lowly Jets offense. Gase obviously won't give away his gameplan, but it sounds like he'll be targeting Baker -- as he should.
It's up to the first-rounder to step up.