Scouts' Take: Safety is best fit for Baker

December, 20, 2013
12/20/13
7:18
PM ET
Oregon snagged the Evergreen State's top prospect Friday night. Read on to see how our scouts feel safety Bishard "Budda" Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) can make a name for himself with the Ducks:

[+] EnlargeBishard Baker
Mason Kelley/ESPN.comBishard Baker is versatile enough to contribute in many ways at Oregon, but safety might be his best.
What he brings: Baker is a versatile athlete who can contribute in multiple ways. He doesn't possess great size, but is physical and plays bigger than measureables may suggest. He also not a burner for his size, but he can accelerate well and still covers a lot of ground quickly. Listed as a safety in the ESPN 300, we feel his best fit is on defense, where he can be a very productive defender against the run and pass. He has an aggressive, ballhawk style of play and can excel in zone schemes, reading the quarterback and playing ball to man. He displays good range and a very good closing burst. He is not the biggest prospect, but he can throw his body around and be a tough run supporter. He also has shown he can be a good, dependable tackler. He wears several hats for his high school team and also could see action on offense, as well. With good ball skills and quick feet and lateral agility to elude defenders, he can make plays with the ball in his hands. With his athleticism and toughness, can also be an asset on special teams.

How he fits: That depends on how the Ducks utilize him. If you go by the philosophy that you put your best athletes on defense, then the top-10 safety could be a good fit for Oregon on that side of the ball. He could have some limitations in man coverage, but as a savvy zone defender who can also be aggressive against the run, he has the tools to be a productive player in Oregon's defense. While we feel his best fit is on defense, with the Ducks' high powered offensive attack he could be put into good use on that side of the ball, as well. He might not excel at one particular position, but they can utilize him at running back as well as at receiver, and he can be highly productive with his versatility.

Prediction for performance: Baker needs to keep physically developing and continue to grow as a player, which should come with focus on one side of the ball. He is a good enough athlete and football player to be able to come in and begin contributing on either side of the ball. Offense, it seems, could be a good initial fit, as the Ducks should be able to find ways for him to contribute there possibly sooner than if he was on defense. We also would expect him to begin to play a role on special teams.

How the class is shaping up: Things started a bit slowly for Oregon on the recruiting trail, but as signing day nears, the Ducks' class is coming together nicely. Baker is a big pick-up regionally, and with his commitment the Ducks now have five ESPN 300 prospects in their 16-member class.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.