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Texans Scouting Cardinals’ Budda Baker: 'A Blur on Tape’

Cardinals' Budda Baker: 'A blur on tape'

HOUSTON -- NFL players and coaches have developed a necessary adage: Don't blink against hard-hitting Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker.

Baker is one of the most dynamic and instinctive defensive players in the league.

Signed to a four-year, $59 million contract, Baker has fast reactions, quickness, intelligence and passion for the game. His qualities all get off-the-chart grades from opponents.

Baker presents a problem for anyone facing J.J. Watt's 6-0 Cardinals, especially the 1-5 Houston Texans on Sunday as they'll start rookie quarterback Davis Mills again.

Baker has a knack for delivering the big play in clutch moments and for playing the game at a higher speed than his opponents. At 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, Baker isn't a big safety. His lack of size is belied by his toughness and productivity. Baker is a constant factor.

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“He flies around," Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly said. "He’s like a blur on tape. He’s a see-ball, get-ball type guy and you can tell he’s got great instincts. He’s always around the football. So, we’ve seen some good safeties and Budda is up there for Davis from the guys we’ve seen this year with being a guy who is really productive and can make plays on the ball in both the run game and the pass game. Again, just continuing to work with Davis and his film study and making sure he’s got an idea as to what to expect when the ball is snapped based off different looks and those lines.”

Baker has 38 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery this season, and the former second-round draft pick from Washington recorded 118 tackles, seven for losses, two sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble last season.

He's been a tackling machine for years with 479 career tackles, forcing five fumbles. He's a strong blitzer who times up his pursuit for 5 1/2 career sacks.

“The guy plays at a high level," Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks said. "He flies around the football field. You never know where he’s going to be at. He plays with a relentless energy and a passion for the game, and I’ve got a lot of respect for the way that he plays the game. I’ve been going against him for years now, and he seems to just continue to get better. A lot of respect for him.”