Although Tom Telesco didn’t draft a defensive back in the 2023 draft, he added a plethora of UDFA camp bodies to compete for spots on the practice squad and potentially push for one of the vacancies left behind by Bryce Callahan and Nasir Adderley.
Tyler Baker-Williams is one such player after a college career as NC State’s versatile chess piece. After a high school career that saw Baker-Williams playing at safety, outside linebacker and wide receiver, he joined NC State initially as as safety but ended up taking snaps at nickel, cornerback, and even running back as well.
His highest-rated season was 2021, where he primarily played at nickel. He was a second-team PFF All-ACC selection, and received an honorable mention for the official All-ACC league team. He managed 27 tackles, 15 of which were considered stops, with a decent missed tackle percentage of 13.5%. When targeted, he allowed a completion percentage of 65.6% and a NFL Passer Rating of 90.2.
The 2022 season was a bit less productive as he battled through two separate injuries at the start and end of the season, missing six and a half games total. In his 266 snaps, PFF gave him a 77.8 grade. While his coverage numbers were decent, his 86.1 run defense grade stands out as elite. He also created three turnovers in his first two games of the season.
NC State coach Dave Doeren on impact of senior nickel Tyler Baker-Williams: pic.twitter.com/RdsATWLvQL— TheWolfpackCentral (@NCStateRivals) September 10, 2022
The biggest thing holding Tyler Baker-Williams back from success at the next level will be overcoming his limited athletic profile. Although he has prototypical size for a cornerback, his 4.67 second 40 time and 4.44 second shuttle provide significant cause for concern at a position where speed can kill. An Adrian Phillips-type projection may be a goal for Baker-Williams, but even as Phillips was on the slower end of defensive backs, his 4.58 second 40 time and 4.29 second shuttle were both measurably faster that Baker-Williams.
Tyler Baker-Williams is a CB prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 1.89 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 1804 out of 2222 CB from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/5qNU42xWtq #Chargers pic.twitter.com/g5RtfjMCtg— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2023
Tyler Baker-Williams will have a challenge in standing out amongst his fellow UDFA defensive backs. If the tenacity Baker-Williams displays in the run game transfers to special teams, perhaps he can eventually play his way into a roster spot and capitalize on his opportunities.