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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Javon Baker (WR – Central Florida)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Javon Baker (WR – Central Florida)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Central Florida wide receiver Javon Baker.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Javon Baker

Javon Baker (WR – Central Florida)

6’1″ – 208 lbs.

Background:

Four-star recruit who originally attended Alabama, where he played sparingly over the 2020 and 2021 seasons before transferring to UCF, where he immediately made an impact, catching 56-796-5 (14.2) in his first season with the Knights. Had a more efficient, dynamic campaign this past year, with 52-1,139-7 (21.9) to conclude his collegiate career.

Positives:

Two-year starter with escalating output. Sturdily built, physical receiver with nice functional strength and a confident demeanor. Primarily an outside receiver, but slot usage ticked up this year, representing over a quarter of his snaps. Runs routes to all three levels of the field, with a lot of intermediate patterns breaking over the middle, but with routes down the sidelines, screens, fades, and other patterns as well. Long-strider who comes off the line fast, eating up cushions quickly; overall deep speed is solid, with some explosive traits. Doesn’t get easily knocked off of his routes by contact. Able to dip his shoulder and slip past punches from off-coverage corners. Tracks the ball well over his shoulder. Provides a big radius and adjusts well to throws away from his frame. Good leaper who can aggressively climb the ladder. Has been effective in contested catch situations, and has the type of strong build to continue contributing there at the next level. Competitive after the day. Good contact balance and a sound base as a blocker.

Negatives:

Some releases vs. press could be simpler and more efficient. Doesn’t have the snappiest routes overall, and could stand to add more attention to detail at the stem to create more consistent separation. Will run himself into coverage occasionally against zone, or settle into it. Has had issues with drops in school, with fourteen over the past two seasons. Overall flexibility looks closer to adequate. Not the most elusive player with the ball in his hands. Doesn’t always show a great sense of urgency as a blocker.

Summary:

One of the strongest receivers in the draft, Baker is a tough player who can mix things up with physical cornerbacks, and who shows solid deep speed and the aggressive ball skills to assert his will in contested-catch situations. As it currently stands, has some elements of his route-running to polish in order to reach his potential. I’d like to see him simplify his releases to eliminate wasted motion, and be more consistent about sinking his hips and snapping off routes at the stem to create more consistent separation. Teams that value strength and toughness highly at the receiver position could start to consider him around the end of the second day, and shouldn’t make it out of the mid-rounds.

Projection: Round 3-4

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