Steve Smith Sr. compares Javon Baker's game to Patriots legends

UCF v Oklahoma
UCF v Oklahoma / Brian Bahr/GettyImages

The Patriots finally did what fans had hoped in this year's draft by double-dipping at wide receiver by selecting Ja'Lynn Polk and Javon Baker. Although neither was considered one of the top prospects of the class, they were still well regarded and deemed great fits for the improving Patriots offense.

Both picks received positive reactions from the fans, but Baker's attitude and standout tape during his time at UCF brought out a more excited feeling around New England. He made quite the first impression with his first words as a new member of the team, which even garnered responses from some of his new teammates as well.

Analysts have also jumped on the bandwagon about his potential in the NFL, with Steve Smith Sr. providing an impressive list of comparable players to how he expects Baker to play.

Steve Smith Sr. gives some high praise to Javon Baker with comparable players

The former receiver turned NFL Network analyst went over film of the top prospects at the position of the 2024 Draft class, which included Baker. He spoke to ESPN about what he saw from the young player's performance, first comparing him to Bengals' T.J. Houshmandzadeh, stating, "He's not going to be a burner, but he's not slow."

Although that's a great comp, Smith went further with his assessment and shared that he sees some of Brandon Lloyd and Chad Johnson in Baker's game as well, two 'Patriots legends,' as fans like to say.

"He's willing to put his body on the line to secure the catch and making an acrobatic or diving catch, which isn't always necessary [like Lloyd] if you just take an extra step. With Chad, it's his footwork, his releases, quick feet, upright, tall."

Despite Johnson's less-than-exciting short stint with the Patriots, he was a fixture of the Bengals' offense for ten years. He was named to six Pro Bowls and two First-Team All-Pros during that time and recorded over 1,000 receiving yards for six consecutive seasons.

Lloyd had a much different career, but he was still impressive during his 12-year career, one of which was spent with the Patriots in 2012 when he recorded 74 receptions for 911 yards and four touchdowns.

His stats don't jump off the page like Johnson's, but the journeyman receiver became known for his out-of-this-world catches well before the NFL world became enthralled with the OBJ one-handed catch.

Maybe Baker's comps aren't what most will consider incredibly exciting, but when a respected player like Smith feels he could be even remotely reminiscent of two consistently productive and flashy players like Johnson and Lloyd, that's as solid of comps as you can ask for.

If the UCF alum can even be half of what those guys did, then the Patriots hit the ball out of the park by selecting him in the fourth round. With Baker involved, the offense will surely be exciting for years to come.

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