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Welcome aboard, CFA Chris Baker

Welcome aboard, CFA Chris Baker

The Broncos’ entire 2009 season rests on your capricious, undrafted shoulders.

Perhaps the most intriguing pick up of the weekend came *after* the draft when we finally picked up a nose tackle as a CFA.

I didn't know much about Chris Baker's history, only that he was a somewhat controversial character at Penn State before moving on to Hampton.  I was a little concerned when I heard about potential character issues, so I checked with the people that were closest to scene.  

I put the question to the PSU board over at Black Shoe Diaries, and so far only 2 of 27 in the poll think it was a dangerous pick. 62% said he was somewhat immature but hopefully has learned from his mistakes, while 5 went so far to say they thought he had future superstar potential. As you can see in the post's threads, for a group of fans still feeling acute pain from a recent OTL investigation into their football team (MSM sensationalism at its best, IMO), many of them were ready to give Baker an unqualified benefit of the doubt (well, maybe slightly qualified).

One PSU fan I chatted with said, "Potential star, and I mean pro-bowler."  

Another added, "You have to think that he’s been significantly humbled by having to go through the free agent process."  No doubt about that, considering he was projected (even with his history) as a 3-4 rounder at worst.

I think this is saying something, considering Baker was one of four students who took the brunt of the heat for the campus altercation.

The more I talk to PSU fans and read about Chris Baker, the more I think we may have the steal of the draft.  Some boards were rating him higher than Ron Brace. He started on the Nittany Lion D line as a *sophomore*. At Hampton he regularly overpowered O-lines in a much less talent laden conference, as one would hope. And most importantly, he was a good teammate, an excellent student, and a law-abiding student.

After doing all this research, learning about him as a 6' tall 11 year old kid who grew up chasing the dream, learning that he's a Christian and has an iPod full of gospel music, understanding that he worked hard in his classes and excelled on the field, I for one am content to believe he has moved beyond whatever happened at PSU, and will be rooting for this kid to succeed and become the dominant NT we were dreaming of as picks dwindled away.  

 

* * * * * * * UPDATE * * * * * * * *

Hey everyone,

I just received the following comment on my post over at Black Shoe Diaries, and thought it was so insightful that I had to share it. 

This is Chris Baker's high school football coach (and history teacher) responding to my question about Chris's issues at Penn State.  Note that he talked with Chris just last night about joining Denver's D:

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Chris Baker at Penn State

I was the Defensive Coordinator for Chris at Windsor (CT) H.S. in 2003 and 2004. Chris is a fine student athlete, I also taught him in History class. Basically at PSU he was accused of being in 2 on campus fights. I think enough of Chris that I wrote a character letter on his behalf. However, due to the expenses of the legal process, Chris pled guilty to misdemeanors with the understanding that he would be able to continue his career at PSU--however once all the sht hit the fan (ESPN doing report on PSU supposedly being out of control last summer on OUtside the Lines)--Paterno responded by kicking 2 players off the team, one being Chris. I felt that Chris was treated unfairly, however he thrived at Hampton.

I really believe that the charges against Chris were against the character that I had grown to appreciate while having him as a player and student.

i spoke to him last night and he is fired up to start with a clean slate. He is a FREAK of an athlete and I think will make people in Denver very happy for years to come.

by coachcohen

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Clearly, he felt it was important for us Bronco fans to have an accurate picture of a player he cares about very much as an athlete, student, and person. 

This is about as good a testimonial as you could hope for, under the circumstances.  There's still a lot of work to be done, but personally I'm going to be rooting very hard for this kid to become our long term answer at NT.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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