Failure to properly vet Baker
No one can predict the future. Past actions, however, can give indications. Not only did the Giants draft Baker, but General Manager Dave Gettleman also traded up to get him 30th overall. Teams spend big bucks on vetting potential players. There were red flags about Baker’s character.
An early lock for the top half of the first round, Baker started slipping down many draft boards after Georgia’s regular season ended. It began with his decision to skip the Sugar Bowl. ESPN analyst Todd McShay told reporter Mark Weiszer before the 2019 Draft that the cornerback’s fall on his board was due to “some frustration from the coaching staff,” about not playing in the bowl game, “but being around and not being the best influence.”
There were additional warnings with him as well. Before the draft, questions about his attitude and coachability were being asked. Many teams said the corner didn’t interview very well when they met with him. According to Steve Serby of the New York Post, who spoke with Tony Pauline, a draft analyst from Pro Football Network, comments about Baker were not very flattering.
"Sources were telling me he was not taking combine training seriously,” Pauline said. “He was kind of an entitled type of kid, he expected things to come very easy to him, he didn’t look good in drills. And then if you go back, and you look at his 2019 combine, he was a huge disappointment."
Pauline specifically mentioned a discussion he had with New York Giants personnel.
"“This year when I was at the Senior Bowl practices, the last day of practice, I was talking to some of the Giant people, they didn’t tell me he was a bad guy or anything, they said he’s dumb as dirt. He struggled taking instruction in coaching, he basically likes to do it his own way.”"
Either Big Blue’s investigators messed this up in spectacular fashion, or GMDG overlooked the warning signs from his staff and scouts. However, it broke down, nothing about Baker’s selection makes the New York Giants front office look smart or even cohesive.
Gettleman was adamant about clearing out players who didn’t measure up to his standards in the locker room. Odell Beckham Jr., Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins, and Landon Collins, among others, are all gone. How did DeAndre Baker even qualify to be part of the team, let alone Gettleman making a trade up to draft him?