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Budda Baker Ranked Top-3 NFL Safety By ESPN

Cardinals' Pro Bowler listed among position group's best by players, coaches, execs

S Budda Baker during Media Day
S Budda Baker during Media Day

Budda Baker didn't like the ranking Pro Football Focus gave him this offseason.

The Cardinals' Pro Bowl defensive back will be much more pleased with his spot in ESPN’s hierarchy.

Baker was ranked as the third-best safety in the NFL heading into 2021, trailing only Pittsburgh's Minkah Fitzpatrick and Denver's Justin Simmons. The order was determined based off input from more than 50 coaches, front office members, scouts and players.

Baker, who was ranked No. 16 in the NFL by PFF, earned rave reviews from the anonymous analysts quoted in the ESPN piece.

"Everyone loves this guy," an unnamed AFC defensive coach told ESPN. "You won't find anyone in the league who doesn't admire his game."

Baker was named a Pro Bowl safety for the second consecutive year in 2020 and added All-Pro honors. He finished the season with 118 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and the first two interceptions of his career.

Seattle's Jamal Adams finished one spot behind Baker, while former Cardinals star Tyrann Mathieu was sixth. Baker, who was listed as the No. 9 safety in the league last year, garnered at least one vote as the NFL's best at the position.

Baker joins outside linebacker Chandler Jones as Cardinals players ranked by ESPN as top-5 at their position. DeAndre Hopkins will likely join them when the list of top receivers is released on July 14.