Budda Baker and Haason Reddick are a couple of low-key guys.
As former early-round NFL draft picks, they understand there is a spotlight upon them, but neither seeks it out.
So while others may have really enjoyed the hype of being drafted, the Cardinals’ second-year duo is happy to be beyond it. Baker and Reddick were present at the first day of the offseason program on Tuesday, and are looking forward to a process that some may find dull.
Reddick turned heads a year ago, as the elite athleticism he showed at the NFL Scouting combine helped the linebacker become the Cardinals’ first-round draft pick. But Reddick knows the training to excel in those drills doesn’t transfer seamlessly to the field.
Learning the less glamorous stuff will be important in helping Reddick reach his potential, and now he gets a full offseason of it.
“Last year I was working on things like my technique for the 40, my technique for the three-cone (drill), stuff like that,” Reddick said. “This year I’m working on how to use my hands, footwork, how to shed blocks. I’m not trying to train for the combine. I’m training to do things that I’ll be actually doing on the field.”
Baker was drafted out of the University of Washington, and its school schedule forced him to miss the vast majority of offseason work with the team. The dynamic safety caught up quickly in training camp and made a huge impact in the second half of his rookie season. A full offseason could help him take another leap forward.
“I’m definitely more excited,” Baker said. “First, I’ll be learning more. I’ll be able to be there for all the OTAs and the workouts. Also, just create better relationships with my teammates.”
There is a greater sense of calm within Reddick compared to a year ago. The pre-draft process is a whirlwind of uncertainty. While he is dealing with a coaching change this year, Reddick has a sense of familiarity after one year with the Cardinals.
“I didn’t know where I was going to be, where I was going to land (before the draft),” Reddick said. “I was worried about other things. I had different stress factors. Now I know where I’m at. I’m settled.”