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Thread: Lack of speed triggered Baker's draft day fall

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  1. #1
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Lack of speed triggered Baker's draft day fall

    Lack of speed triggered Baker's draft-day free fall
    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Last weekend's draft was deepest in wide receivers, so that is where the Steelers went -- deep into the draft before they picked one.

    But isn't Dallas Baker of Florida kind of interesting? The Steelers selected him in the seventh round of the seven-round draft, No. 227 overall. Those usually are the players first out in training camp cuts, until someone like a Brett Keisel comes along on the seventh round and reminds everyone that those draft picks should not be kissed off -- even if one of them is named after one of their most-hated Super Bowl rivals.

    Yes, Dallas Baker was named after the Dallas Cowboys.

    "My dad loved the Dallas Cowboys," Baker said moments after the Steelers made him their final draft choice Sunday. "Most of my family members were Cowboys fans. But I would say maybe 20, 30 minutes ago, all that changed."

    Good thing family members weren't big New England fans.

    The Steelers can use another wide receiver on their roster, and Baker should make a serious play for that spot. He already is among their biggest at 6 feet 3, 206 pounds, and his college resume is outstanding. He led the national champion Gators with 920 yards receiving on 60 catches and scored 10 touchdowns last season.

    He ranked second on the team as a junior with 52 receptions.

    Big-time production at a big-time school with a big-time frame -- what's not to like? His speed and quickness. He ran a 4.6 at Florida's pro day after running a 4.53 at the combine. Scouts also questioned his desire to go after the ball in a crowd. Perhaps there never were crowds around him because he is ninth on Florida's list with 21 career touchdown catches -- Dallas Baker, the touchdown maker -- among his 151 receptions and 2,236 yards.

    "One thing we really liked about Dallas was his touchdown productivity and his size," said Kevin Colbert, the Steelers' director of football operations. "We have a pretty good receiving group, but it's not the biggest group. Sometimes, you'd just like to have another big receiver to go along with the other guys -- maybe as a red-zone guy."

    The Steelers already have one of those in 6-5 Heath Miller and drafted another on the third round in 6-7 Matt Spaeth, but there is room on the roster if Baker shows them something from now until September.

    Four roster spots at wide receiver are locked up by Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Cedrick Wilson and Nate Washington (who made the team, by the way, as an undrafted free agent).

    The Steelers kept six on the roster last year, including rookie Willie Reid and special-teamer Sean Morey. Reid is back, Morey is not. They could keep six again, although that sixth spot might be used to keep three tight ends instead. predicted Baker would go in the fourth or fifth round.

    "I thought I would have gone early on," Baker said. "But, really, I was just looking at it as a blessing and an opportunity. I mean, who wouldn't want to play football for a living? It's something I love to do, so to have an opportunity to play it for a living, I'm just going to take it and run with it."
    I can live with 4.5-4.6 speed if he's going to be that productive. We never put THAT much value on speed at WR anyways, opting rather than toughness and good hands. We have a good mix of WR's now on our team so I can't wait to see how the spots below Holmes & Ward pan out.

  2. #2
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    Speed is over rated as it is. All he has to worry about is making the team by showing he can get off the line with no problems, going across the middle and having good hands. His size is definitely an advantage along with having Ward there to teach him. I can't wait till camp starts.

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  3. #3
    Starter kgreen's Avatar
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    SWEEEET!!! That is called a steal!

    "When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die."

  4. #4
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    I wouldn't think that Hines is any faster than that, and we sure want him on the field! So I agree, speed isn't the only weapon in an arsenal.

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Yea Colston was supposed to be to slow last year also to play WR in the NFL. Not saying Baker will be the next Colston. But he has the talent to make the team and contribute as a 4th WR at first. I see him down the road as a solid number 2. Thats just my opinion. Could be wrong but hey he only was a 7th round pick. So really no big loss if he doesn't pan out.

  6. #6
    Draft Pick 25MVPKing's Avatar
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    A Gator named after a Cowboy?

    Well, like you said hands and toughness are the most important. His 7.5:1 catch to TD ratio is nice.
    Hotlink it and spread the love!

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    Maybe he will turn out good and id like to see him make a roster spot, but I really like Nate Washington. His mistakes should be gone this year and i could see him as our 3rd best WR(maybe even 2nd). I like having a speed WR as our 3rd. So unless Baker proves he is better then Nate I say he is 5th best.

  8. #8
    K Train's Avatar
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    I think baker makes this team....he is colston, to big and slow for a WR, to small for a TE.....he might not get colston #s but he is his clone.

    a 4.5 is why he slipped? when jarrett ran a 4.7? Media has a thing for overrating every player from southern cal i guess. Not everyone can run a good 40....gamespeed when your running scared is a whole other kind of speed.
    Last edited by K Train; 05-03-2007 at 04:41 PM.

  9. #9
    Prosdo's Avatar
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    I hope you're right K-Train. I would like to see these young guys break out. Plus Baker is 6-3 while Ced is 5-10. I saw some highlights of Baker and I really liked what I saw.

  10. #10
    K Train's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prosdo View Post
    Plus Baker is 6-3 while Ced is 5-10..
    That means absolutely nothing to me, i could care less about his height...i hate wilson because he sucks lol

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