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ESPN poll ranks Cardinals’ Budda Baker No. 5 safety across NFL

ESPN poll ranks Cardinals’ Budda Baker No. 5 safety across NFL

The Arizona Cardinals have a single of the very best safeties in the NFL in Budda Baker, building a Professional Bowl in 4 of his 1st five seasons.

ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler surveyed more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and gamers to stack the top rated 10 safeties in the NFL and Baker was rated No. 5.

Only the Denver Broncos’ Justin Simmons (No. 1), Pittsburgh Steelers’ Minkah Fitzpatrick (No. 2), Tennessee Titans’ Kevin Byard (No. 3) and San Diego Chargers’ Derwin James Jr. (No. 4) had been rated increased than Baker.

Baker earned the name as a missile from the defensive backfield, all set to strike on functioning backs and receivers with fearless hits. His 98 tackles in 2021 tied for 12th amongst all defensive backs. But he has developed into a excellent all-all around participant, keeping opposing quarterbacks to a 61.3 passer ranking when he is the nearest defender and allowing 19 of 31 completions for 268 yards and a touchdown. He also snagged 3 interceptions in 2021.

“I give him credit,” an NFC scout mentioned. “He’s improved a great deal. The knock on him was he was a just one-trick pony and a lot more of a hitter, but he’s turn into much more entire every 12 months.”

Baker is explosive in the open up discipline subsequent interceptions, as well, recording 191 return yards off his five picks since 2020. Right after zero interceptions by way of his initial 3 NFL seasons, the floodgates have opened.

Baker concluded 2021 with 98 tackles, three interceptions, 7 passes defensed and a person fumble recovery.

NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks’ Jamaal Adams was ranked No. 10 as the only other NFC West gamers in the best 10.

Previous Cardinal Tyrann Mathieu was named an honorable mention on the record.