Georgia’s Deandre Baker says he’s the top CB in NFL draft
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Deandre Baker proclaimed himself to be the best cornerback in the NFL draft after using Georgia’s pro day to improve his time in the 40-yard dash.
Baker posted two unofficial times of 4.46 seconds in the 40 on Wednesday. He was timed at 4.52 seconds in last month’s NFL combine in Indianapolis.
Most projections have Baker being selected in the first round in the NFL draft on April 25. Baker, who won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back, wants to be the first cornerback taken in the draft.
“I know I’m the best cornerback in the draft,” Baker said. “I don’t just believe it, I know I’m the best.”
Baker (5-11, 185) had seven career interceptions, including two as a senior in 2018. He broke up 12 passes last season and said his career backs up his proud boast.
“My film speaks for itself,” he said. “My stats, everything. My production, week in and week out. You go back to 2017 or the first day I started I was the best cornerback in the nation.”
Asked if NFL teams have backed up his claim to be the top cornerback in the draft, Baker said “A lot of teams told me that.”
Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff had most of his staff attend the workout, including new tight ends coach Mike Mularkey.
Dimitroff, who may look for help at cornerback with one of the Falcons’ first picks in the draft, said Baker “had a really good day today.”
“He’s obviously quick, fast, explosive,” Dimitroff said. “He can run, cover the field. He has very good range that way. He’s being reported as one of the best in the country in the draft.”
Asked if he agrees with those reports, Dimitroff smiled and said Baker “is a very good football player.”
Georgia did not release official results from the 40, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump and shuttle drills.
Tight end Isaac Nauta and running back Elijah Holyfield had mixed results in efforts to improve poor 40-yard times — 4.91 and 4.78 seconds, respectively — posted at the NFL combine.
Nauta said he was told his times on Wednesday were “mostly 4.6s to 4.7s, so I hit what I was trying to hit. ... Right where I knew I could run. I feel much better walking out of here today.”
Holyfield’s times were about the same as at the NFL combine.
Holyfield (5-10, 217) is a powerful runner who ran for 1,018 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018. Like Nauta, he left Georgia after his junior season.
“You don’t play football in a combine,” Holyfield said. “You play football where you play football, on a field.”
Even so, Dimitroff said a bad time in the 40 is a factor in a prospect’s draft outlook.
“Of course it’s a concern and it depends on an organization and how high you determine that to be sort of a guiding light,” Dimitroff said.
One day after attending Alabama’s pro day, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick watched the Georgia draft prospects. Belichick also attended Georgia’s pro day one year ago and then selected two Bulldogs — offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel — in the first round.
Belichick was the only NFL head coach at the pro day.
Wide receivers Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley, Terry Godwin, Ahkil Crumpton and Jayson Stanley caught passes from former Miami quarterback Ryan Williams. Center Lamont Gaillard, defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter, outside linebacker D’Andre Walker and inside linebacker Natrez Patrick also worked out for scouts.
Hardman was one of the fastest wide receivers at the NFL combine, running the 40 in 4.33 seconds. He didn’t try to improve that time on Wednesday.
Ridley’s older brother, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley, attended the workout.