Patriots find what they need in Javon Baker based on these NFL comps

2024 NFL Draft Recap: Patriots' Strategic Picks and Javon Baker's Prospect Analysis
Cincinnati v UCF
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The Patriots came into the 2024 NFL offseason with many needs. Despite that, they had a relatively quiet offseason, with a lackluster free agency period that didn't address nearly any of the biggest roster issues.

How they navigated the 2024 NFL Draft was a different story, however. The Patriots addressed all sorts of talent-starved positions, including the quarterback, offensive line, and receiver positions, even double-dipping at a few.

Javon Baker, a wide receiver out of the University of Central Florida, was selected in the fourth round with the 110th pick. He is coming off a season where he recorded 52 receptions, for 1,139 yards, and seven touchdowns. It was a fantastic season for the Knights' wideout, who spent the year as UCF's number-one receiving option.

Baker has a golden opportunity to become a big part of the Pats' offense moving forward. So, without further ado, I'd like to take an in-depth look into Baker as an NFL prospect.

*It is important to note that the comparisons are solely based on similarities among current NFL players. The comparisons will begin and end with their respective categorical breakdowns.

NFL player comparisons for Patriots rookie wide receiver Javon Baker

Size - Javon Baker is coming into the NFL listed at 6'1" tall, weighing 202 pounds

Baker has solid size for the NFL. Much like Polk, there are several player comps with similar sizes to Baker. They range in their responsibilities. We are solely looking at the size comparisons for this exercise. Here's a breakdown of other receivers who have similar sizes:

  1. New York Giants: Darius Slayton, 6'1" 194 lbs
  2. Tennessee Titans: Calvin Ridley, 6'1" 195 lbs
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chris Godwin, 6'1" 208 lbs

Speed - Javon Baker ran a 4.54 second 40-yard dash at the combine

He is not the fastest receiver; his 4.54-second 40-yard dash indicates that he'll never be a receiver who will have elite speed. Luckily for the Patriots, Baker won't have to rely on beating defenders off the line. It's not his forte, and the Pats will look to enhance his strengths on Sundays. Baker is ready to show that he is not playing around and will put in the work necessary to see the field.

There are several player comps with similar 40-times to Baker. They will range in their duties, and we are solely looking at speed comparisons. Here's a list of players who posted similar times:

  1. Arizona Cardinals: Michael Wilson, 4.58-second 40-yard dash
  2. Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant, 4.52-second 40-yard dash
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers: Hines Ward, 4.55-second 40-yard dash

Play style - a versatile receiver who operates inside and out; reliable target in the red zone

Javon Baker figures to be an outside X-receiver, winning contested deep catches with his strong hands and elite catch-in-traffic ability. Baker is not the strongest of route runners, but he has shown the ability to produce all over the field.

Several player comps have similar play styles as Baker. They range in responsibilities, but we are examining play style comparisons. Here's a list of players who play the receiver position similarly:

  1. Arizona Cardinals: Michael Wilson, multi-role receiver
  2. Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Tolbert, outside X-receiver
  3. Kansas City Chiefs: Rashee Rice, multi-role receiver

Potential NFL impact

Javon Baker was a great value pick for the Pats. He has talent and potential, and his senior season uptick, combined with his senior bowl showing, indicates that he has plenty left to show. He is not the biggest, fastest, or most polished, but receivers selected in the fourth round aren't expected to be right away.

He will win contested throws immediately in the NFL. He will showcase his will in the red zone, which will make him one of Drake Maye's favorite weapons early on and often. He's shown that he can be a reliable target, which is a better evaluation outcome than many of the Patriots' former receivers they've had wear the uniform.

I see Baker as a high-end WR3 for the Patriots, capable of taking over games at times. He will be a reliable weapon in the offense, utilizing all parts of the field. What will separate Baker from his fellow peers will be his work ethic.

If he works hard on improving his route running and separation, he has a chance to be a very solid player for the Patriots.

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