ArrowChop: Will DeAndre Baker make the 53-man roster to start the season for the Chiefs?

With DeAndre Baker reporting he’s at almost 100%, will he snag a roster spot to start the upcoming 2021 season?

Hello again everyone and welcome to another week of the ArrowChop! This is the column where we look at the positives/negatives of a certain Chiefs/NFL issue and look at both sides of the aisle. Then you, the readers, will come to your conclusions after I lay out the case. So sit back, relax, and enjoy as we break down this week’s hot topic.

Besides the defensive line causing a lot of conversations, there is a lot of news spinning around in the cornerback room. Will Sneed have an impressive sophomore year? Will Charvarius Ward return to his 2019 self, where he allowed a 47.2 completion percentage on 82 passes thrown his way; plus, a 65.2 QB rating when thrown his way? Will Mike Hughes prove to the NFL that he isn’t a first-round bust? While those are all good questions, one is beginning to stand out, and that is with former first-round pick DeAndre Baker.

Baker has told reporters that he is close to 100% healthy, and he’s ready for his second year as a Kansas City Chief. Right now, he is slated as the third right CB and the sixth overall CB behind Rashad Fenton and beside BoPete Keyes (third left CB). With him on a fine line, will Baker make the 53-man roster, or will someone beat him out for that spot? Let’s break down both sides of the aisle and find out:

Baker will make the roster to start the season

This side believes so as such:

Firstly, Baker has a shot to beat out a vast majority of the players on this roster. For instance, we can see him easily beating out DiCaprio Bootle and Chris Lammons without a shadow of a doubt; the skill gap between them is easy to see. I can see him beat out Thakarius (BoPete) Keyes for the five spot, so long as that first-round potential comes up during training camp. While Keyes only started in one game, he did allow five completions on six attempts while he was in coverage along with a 113.9 QB rating. He could be bumped down to the practice squad varying on his time in training camp and the preseason.

Baker versus Fenton would be an interesting depth spot battle to watch; however, no matter if he wins or loses, he’ll still earn a roster spot. Varying on he’ll be the fourth or fifth CB will be exciting to watch as he’s almost at 100%, and is ready to show the league what he can do.

Secondly, there is obviously first-round potential within him; he wouldn’t have been drafted in the first round without a reason. He was touted as a disruptive corner who was very physical on the field. He had amazing press coverage skills and had zone coverage skills that could easily improve at the NFL level. If the coaches were to bring out those same skills he had in college, he would be an obvious roster spot choice.

Baker won’t make the roster to start the season

This side believes so as such:

Firstly, Baker still has a lot of work to do, and he can get that work in with the practice squad. In 2019, on 84 targets, he allowed 54 completions (a 61.4 completion percentage), 850 receiving yards, and a whopping six touchdowns when he was in coverage. That is as below average as you can get, and it’s even worse when he was a first-round pick. 2020 wasn’t too kind to him either, as he allowed three completions on five targets, but this time for only 26 yards and one touchdown. Not the best outing, but only a slight improvement.

To add on, he allowed a 116.2 QB rating in 2019 and a 113.3 QB rating in 2020, which is unsightly to look at. A tad of an improvement, yes, but it is still pretty bad. He still has room to improve with CBs coach Sam Madison on the practice squad and could be bumped up later in the season.

Secondly, the Chiefs could still easily sign a CB free agent for cheap before or during training camp. This would immediately lessen Baker’s chances to land on the roster. The Chiefs have $7.9 million still left in cap space, so signing someone else isn’t out of the question. Favorable free agents that could still be signed include but are not limited to Gareon Conley and Nickell Robey-Coleman. This could kick him down towards a practice squad spot.

Do you think DeAndre Baker will make the roster? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @HunterStanton8 and @ArrowheadLive. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day.