PFF ranks Cardinals’ Budda Baker top box strong safety in NFL

Jul 30, 2022, 6:54 AM
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals' Budda Baker (3) during...

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals' Budda Baker (3) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker is well regarded around the NFL, making four Pro Bowls and two First-Team All-Pros in his first five seasons.

The media sees him the same way. Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson released the 2022 NFL safety rankings and tiers that saw Baker ranked as the No. 1 box strong safety in the league.

PFF lists the safety tier as players who played “auxiliary linebackers and patrolled the box, defending the run and covering short zones underneath.”

Budda Baker is a heat-seeking missile in the Arizona defense, amassing 160 defensive stops in just five seasons of play. He has three 80.0-plus PFF run-defense grades in his first five seasons, and his versatility allows him to move around the defense, playing plenty as a free safety and in the slot.

Baker finished 2021 with 98 tackles, three interceptions, two sacks and only 18 receptions allowed.

He finished ahead of the New York Jets’ Jordan Whitehead, the Seattle Seahawks’ Jamal Adams, the New England Patriots’ Adrian Phillips and the Cincinnati Bengals’ Vonn Bell on Monson’s ranking.

Baker also received a 92 grade in the upcoming Madden NFL 23, behind the New Orleans Saints’ Tyrann Mathieu (94) and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Derwin James Jr. (93).

Baker will be flanked by free safety Jalen Thompson and cornerbacks Byron Murphy Jr. and Marco Wilson to round out the Arizona secondary, one that PFF ranked No. 27 in the league despite having Baker.

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PFF ranks Cardinals’ Budda Baker top box strong safety in NFL