Edwin Baker: 6 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of 2012 NFL Draft Prospect
Edwin Baker is an extremely interesting prospect at this point in the 2012 NFL draft. He is most likely a late round value, but could be a steal if things fall the right way moving forward.
The former Michigan State running back possesses a combination of toughness and power that will surprise a lot of people that had not heard of him leading up to the draft.
He does tend to struggle in other aspects of the game, however. In this article, I am going to focus on six strengths and weaknesses as they relate to Edwin Baker's game.
Strength: Powerful Runner
Once out of the offensive backfield, Edwin Baker is extremely hard to bring down. Not only does the Michigan State product run with a low center of gravity, but he is able to push past would-be tacklers with brute strength alone.
This might be the most dynamic aspect of Baker's game. It also indicates that some team will look at him in the latter rounds for a short yardage type of back.
There really aren't a lot of these type of prospects in the 2012 draft, which should help his draft stock a great deal later this week.
Weakness: Struggles Hitting the Line, Dances Too Much
I still don't see why power running backs make the decision to dance in the backfield too much. They need to start understanding the type of backs they are: the downhill variety.
Edwin Baker is no different. Simply put, the young running back needs to get it through his head that he isn't Chris Johnson.
Strength: Can Handle the Load
Edwin Baker isn't a scat back like so many other mid-tier prospects in the 2012 NFL draft. He has the size and strength to shoulder the load. It isn't going to be a dynamic performance, somewhat like what we are accustomed to in regards to a player like Brandon Jacobs.
Moreover, Baker is going to be someone that a team can rely on in short yardage situations. He won't get stopped behind the line of scrimmage when he decides to hit the hole hard.
It is that type of consistent running that leads me to believe that Baker will be able to earn a paycheck in the National Football League.
Weakness: One Dimensional
Edwin Baker is an atrocious pass-catching running back. He runs horrible routes, doesn't possess soft hands and seems not to care too much about improving these skills. This is one of the primary reasons that Michigan State was starting to give other backs more field time in 2011.
The young running back is also pretty bad in terms of pass protection. He struggles a great deal in terms of technique and doesn't fully engage oncoming pass-rushers a majority of the time.
This pretty much disables his ability to be an every down back at the next level.
Strength: Doesn't Shy Away from Contact
Edwin Baker will seek out and find contact. He isn't going to shy away from larger defenders or attempt to get around them on the outside.
Rather, Baker pretty much earns his keep taking on defenders past the line of scrimmage, usually gaining an extra yard or two after initial contact.
As I mentioned before, this is one of the primary reasons that Baker could earn his keep as a short yardage back in the NFL.
Weakness: Lack of Production
Edwin Baker saw his production drop off a great deal last season. He went from rushing for over 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2010 to less than 700 yards in 2011. Additionally, Baker's rush-average dropped nearly two yards.
There are a couple different reasons for this.
First, he started to dance a lot more last season. This enabled defenders to get their paws on Baker in the offensive backfield. Second, he didn't look anywhere near decisive in the backfield.
It was a horrible decision for Baker to declare after his pedestrian performance last season. He should have gone back to Michigan State and attempted to duplicate his impressive 2010 season.