Why Javon Baker is the Patriots' most interesting and compelling pick

Pats' fourth-round pick is determined to prove the doubters wrong
Cincinnati v UCF
Cincinnati v UCF / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

The New England Patriots completed their 2024 NFL draft. Many felt (hand raised high here)taking top quarterback Drake Maye with their third overall pick was a smash over the Green Monster at Fenway Park. Some overall grades were more positive, others not so much.

Alternatively, Pro Football Focus gave the team a B+,

Another pick that received attention, though a good deal lower in the draft in the fourth round, was University of Central Florida wide receiver Javon Baker. The thought here was he was a bit of a reach in the fourth round. Yet, he won't be if he can step in as a WR1 or X receiver, which the Patriots sorely lack.

Regardless of how you looked at it, Baker has had things to say since the draft, and his confidence is certainly nice to see. It will be up to the young receiver to shine at the upcoming camps and then justify (or not) the team's faith in him in games.

Javon Baker had two nice seasons at Central Florida

Baker had two solid seasons at Central Florida after transferring from Alabama, where he was impeded by a host of top wide receivers ahead of him on the depth chart. He proceeded to rack up some excellent numbers at UCF.

After catching only nine passes at Alabama, in two years at UCF, the 6'1", 202-pound receiver caught 108 for 1935 yards and 12 touchdowns, with a sterling 17.5 yards per catch. One knock on the UCF star was his rather pedestrian 4.54 forty-yard dash time at the combine. But as history has taught, those stats—any stats—can be deceiving.

Baker is determined to prove all his doubters wrong and is not afraid to let the world know. nesn.com quoted the Patriots' rookie receiver putting everyone on notice that he's out to prove a point,

"'No way in (expletive) America 10 receivers better than me,” Baker said in a video posted to Instagram. 'Out of your (expletive) mind. … You ain’t gonna outwork me, though. Tell you that much. I don’t give a (expletive) how hard I’m breathing. I’m gonna go again.'”

You have to love the young man's confidence and grit. He put himself in the spotlight. Baker has the confidence to back up those words on the field. That outspokenness is not for everyone, but it's refreshing to see from a rookie who feels he can prove all the doubters wrong.

Javon Baker can be a huge asset to the Patriots

One of de facto general manager Eliot Wolf's most glaring omissions was not drafting a clear No. One or X boundary receiver with top straight-line speed. Baker may not have that measurable speed, but as the former Patriots' second-round pick, the blazingly fast Tyquan Thornton, has demonstrated, it's not all about speed.

Instead, it's all about getting open and that less tangible asset, "playing speed." Julian Edelman, a future Patriots Hall of Famer and maybe more, had that asset in abundance and had a great career in New England. He got open. If Baker can do the same on the outside especially, he'll be a tremendous asset to a wideout room loaded with WR2 and WR3s.

Baker has shown an ability to stretch the field. If he proves to be an X receiver, he'll have filled the key spot that seemed to be neglected by Eliot Wolf in the Patriots' draft. It would be an alternative but a welcome way for the team to have plugged that clear void in their lackluster offense.

Whatever happens down the road, you've gotta like Javon Baker's pluck and determination to confound the experts and prove he's a top NFL receiver. They say, "It ain't braggin' if you can do what you say you can."

Here's hoping the young wideout will do just that. It's going to be nice to root for him.

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