DeAndre Baker
AP Photo

New York Giants rookie cornerback DeAndre Baker is ready for the impending challenge of getting plugged into the starting lineup right away.

The New York Giants traded away three picks in this year’s draft to put themselves back in the first round with the No. 30 selection. And with that pick, they chose University of Georgia cornerback DeAndre Baker. The now-former Bulldog won the 2018 Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s top defensive back.

Regardless of what position it is, one of the toughest things in the NFL is the pressure a rookie will feel when getting thrown into the starting lineup immediately. As the preseason approaches (and eventually the regular season), the Giants have Baker as the starting corner on the opposite side of Janoris Jenkins. Despite the impending pressure, Baker makes it known that he’s up for the challenge.

“I play fearless,” Baker told Darryl Slater of this week.

In his final season with Georgia (12 games), Baker had 40 combined tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, nine passes defended, and one forced fumble. He’s definitely someone that can be a force coming up on the run. This, along with one who can be shut down corner in the secondary.

He only allowed one touchdown in his collegiate career for the Bulldogs, with none in his final two seasons.

Yes, he’s the starter for right now, but the regular season is still more than a month away. Things could definitely change until then. Baker will have to continue to compete against guys such as Sam Beal, Antonio Hamilton, and additional rookie Corey Ballentine.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.