When the Chargers lost Mike Tolbert this past season, it was just another in a long line of backs leaving San Diego for what they feel are greener pastures. Michael Turner took his talents to Atlanta, LaDainian Tomlinson bolted for New York, Darren Sproles to the Saints in New Orleans, and now Tolbert to Carolina.
This has left the Chargers with a huge hole behind Ryan Mathews at the running back position, which could be filled by 2009 undrafted free agent Curtis Brinkley, who saw some time as a reserve for the Chargers last year. More likely, at least in my opinion, is that seventh round pick Edwin Baker is going to contribute quite a bit as a rookie.
Baker was really productive at Michigan State and is a solid athlete who has a compact build at 5’8″ and 204 pounds. I’m really interested to see how the Chargers utilize him, especially early on because they lack depth at the running back position and Ryan Mathews can be slightly injury prone as it is.
Despite the fact that Mathews is projected to be a top five or 10 back in the NFL this year, I think San Diego is going to obviously need some help behind him and they don’t have a lot. Edwin Baker, a seventh round pick, is going to have to come in and make an impact right away.
As a prospect, Baker regressed in 2011 from where he was in 2010, but I think overall he is a solid back who needs to show he can play early and get in on this high octane offense that added a ton of speed over the course of the offseason. What is Baker all about? Here is our scouting report:
As long as Edwin Baker has been at MSU he has been in a rotation. After his Sophomore year many felt he would take the next step forward. He has done the opposite. While he is blessed with power and speed he is far too often too tentative and does not always hit the hole with power. Because of that, as well as his lack of blocking and pass catching, he is still in a rotation. He will need to come back for his senior season and work on his craft. If he does he is a capable rotation running back who has good breakaway speed.
NFLmocks preseason bio
Very compact running back with a low center of gravity who rarely goes down on first contact. Is one of the more punishing runners in a very talented group at MSU, and is a guy who can make people miss in the open field. Not overly speedy, but he has a nose for the end zone. Averaged nearly 6 yards per carry last season as the Spartans’ primary back, and had 1,201 yards rushing to go along with 13 touchdowns on the ground. Only the sixth runner in school history to get over 1,000 yards in a single season. Was named first team All Big Ten by the media, honorable mention by the coaches, and 2nd team by Phil Steele. I am not so sure he will leave early this season, but it’s possible because MSU’s backfield could get crowded. Baker really stands out because of his ability in between the tackles, but you would like to see him get better in the passing game.