More free agency review articles! How well did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do? very well, if we can believe analysts’ reviews. Most of those reviews focused on DeSean Jackson, but Chris Baker got some attention too. The former Washington defensive lineman is versatile, cheap and likely underrated.
That is why Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson argues that Chris Baker is the most underrated signing this offseason.
Baker finished the 2016 season with a top-20 PFF grade (82.2) among all defensive interior players, with 42 total pressures and 24 stops. He earned solid grades against the run and pass the past two seasons in Washington, and the Bucs got the 29-year-old for a good price. This might be the best bargain of free agency.
That’s nice, though Pro Football Focus’ numbers are never perfect of course. One interesting note: they see him as a nose tackle. It’s less clear how the Bucs see him, though that’s likely correct given that they let Akeem Spence walk.
But Baker is also highly versatile, and can play defensive end in some 3-4 alignments as well. That gives the Bucs a lot of down-to-down and game-to-game flexibility in their approach, with McCoy and Clinton McDonald also capable of playing multiple positions, just like several of the Bucs’ defensive ends.