Position: Wide Receiver
Age (Draft Day): 22
Height/Weight: 6'1", 208 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 4.55 seconds
Javon Baker is a very intriguing prospect for the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft. A former 4-star recruit, Baker initially enrolled at powerhouse Alabama but struggled to find playing time behind a star-studded receiving corps. He then verbally committed to Kentucky but ultimately decided to take his talents to Central Florida. Landing at UCF proved to be the perfect fit, as Baker blossomed into a reliable and dynamic playmaker. In his senior season, he led the team with 52 receptions for 1,139 yards and 7 touchdowns, averaging an impressive 21.9 yards per reception, per ESPN.
Alpha Personality: Baker plays with a never-say-die mentality, fighting for every yard and refusing to go down without a fight. He won't back down to anyone and has extreme confidence in himself.
Body Control: He showcases exceptional body control, twisting and contorting to make highlight-reel catches in tight spaces. Baker elevates the contested catch to an art form, routinely turning 50-50 balls into 90-10 balls.
Strong Hands: Baker possesses fantastic hands. He can easily pluck throws away from his body and has full belief that he will always come down with the ball.
YAC: His combination of size and quickness allows him to create yards after the catch, using his physicality to break tackles and his agility to elude defenders.
Top-End Speed: While respectable, Baker's lack of elite speed might cap his overall potential.
Possession Receiver Only?: The question remains if he can expand his skillset beyond a possession receiver role.
Contested Catch Reliance: His success heavily relies on contested catches, which don't always translate consistently to the NFL level.
Concentration Drops: Despite strong hands, occasional concentration drops raise concerns (14 in the last two seasons).
NFL Comparison: Juju Smith-Schuster
Both Juju and Baker have eerily similar builds(6'1 and around 210lbs) and play styles. Juju at his peak was a high-end number-two receiver in the NFL and was well worth a second-round pick. He was hard to bring down after the catch, had huge, strong hands, and never lacked confidence on the field. Javon Baker exudes confidence and will likely have a similar role to Juju in the NFL.
Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd Round
Javon Baker is a talented wide receiver with a blend of size, athleticism, and playmaking ability. His ability to win contested catches and make big plays in the open field is undeniable. However, concerns about his speed and route diversity might cause him to slide slightly in the draft. If he can demonstrate growth in these areas at the Combine and Pro Day, Baker could see his draft stock rise. With continued development and refinement, Baker has the potential to become a full-time starter by year two.