DeAndre Baker has been a popular name tossed around in conversations about the Kansas City Chiefs' cornerback group. As he continues working his way back from a leg injury, he's poised to potentially make an impact this season.
In the team's Week 17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Baker suffered a broken left femur. He had surgery shortly thereafter and entered the offseason facing a lengthy rehabilitation process, putting him at a disadvantage ahead of training camp. When asked about his overall health right now, his answer was short and sweet.
"I'm pretty close to 100%," Baker said.
When Baker originally broke his femur, that threw a fork in the Chiefs' plans to have him compete for a starting spot later in the year. While it remains to be seen what that plan or timeline looks like now, it's undoubtedly good news that he's out on the field and nearing his pre-injury form.
Steve Spagnuolo's cornerback group looks a bit different as the 2021 season approaches. Bashaud Breeland departed to Minnesota in free agency, and the Chiefs executed a trade to bring former Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes into the fold. Without much veteran leadership nor proven stability at the position, the team's philosophy will certainly be tested.
Baker very well could factor into that. While he has just over a half of Chiefs football under his belt, he's a former first-round pick and logged 15 starts for the New York Giants in 2019. He recorded eight passes broken up in his rookie season and is a very talented player. If Baker can get fully healthy over the next month or so and prove to be mentally prepared, the Chiefs may have a role waiting for him this season.