After signing James Bradberry in free agency, the Giants went into the 2020 NFL Draft assuming their starting cornerbacks would be Bradberry and DeAndre Baker, a first-round pick out of the 2019 draft.
After Baker struggled in his rookie season, there was a sense of excitement to see how the talented defensive back out of Georgia was going to progress. But Baker’s future in New York, and the NFL, is now in question.
On Thursday, arrest warrants were issued in South Florida for Baker and Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar in connection with an armed robbery investigation. According to the Miramar Police Department, Baker's arrest warrant is for four counts of armed robbery with a firearm and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.
On Saturday, Baker turned himself in, his lawyer, Bradford Cohen, confirmed.
Baker was the alleged ringleader in the theft of more than $70,000 in money and watches at a party in Miami on Wednesday, according to the affidavit, when he and others robbed multiple people at gunpoint. The affidavit also claims Baker told another man in a red mask to shoot someone who walked into the party, but the man did not fire his weapon.
Shortly after the news broke, Baker released a statement:
“I want to thank [the Miramar PD] for being professional in regards to surrendering and issues with the case. We understand that the officers can only base warrants on what was told to them at the time. We have had affidavits from several witnesses that also dispute the allegations and exculpate our client. Our investigator has had them for some time. We would have rather presented them to the court at the proper time, rather than in the media, but in this day and age, people rush to judgement [sic]. Where some seek publicity, we seek justice. I look forward to moving this case forward to [a] proper conclusion, as we believe our client is innocent of any charges.”
On Friday, attorneys for Dunbar and Baker said they have affidavits from witnesses that can clear both of charges.
Attorney Michael Grieco, who represents Dunbar, told ESPN he has “five sworn affidavits from witnesses,” and his client was “there but confident he didn't commit a crime.” Cohen has since said there is “video evidence” that will help exonerate Baker.
These charges are very different from the red flags in Baker's scouting report during the 2019 pre-draft process. The Giants were reportedly split on whether they should draft Baker due to a number of concerns.
“There was a battle in our building on whether we were going to take DeAndre or not,” an unnamed source with knowledge of the Giants’ process told The New York Post, “because the story was he had to have his ass kicked every day to work hard at Georgia — to even go to practice. We knew that and we still drafted him, and from Day 1 it was like taking a guy in the first round that you had to teach nearly everything to.”
Baker struggled in Year 1; starting as a rookie cornerbacks is one of the toughest jobs in the NFL, but there were off-the-field concerns as well. The coaching staff had to constantly kick Baker into gear, according to the Post’s report, which included keeping him awake during team meetings. Such behavior got him benched throughout the season.
The Giants were certainly hoping 2020 would carry Baker in a much more positive light. Baker is still with the Giants, as it stands Saturday. But after moving on from Odell Beckham Jr., Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple due to character conflict, one has to accept the reality that Baker's short tenure could soon be over.
There have been contradicting reports on whether New York will be on moving defensive back Julian Love. Love started five games at safety for the Giants in 2019 and was expected to stay there for the foreseeable future. He could be staying at cornerback, and a battle between him and Sam Beal could wage for the second outside cornerback spot opposite Bradberry.
- Sep 29, 2023
- Sep 27, 2023