Sam Baker (offensive tackle)
Baker walking with the USC Trojans
|Date of birth:||May 30, 1985|
|Place of birth:||Tustin, California|
|Height:||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Weight:||301 lb (137 kg)|
|High school:||Tustin (CA)|
|NFL Draft:||2008 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Samuel David Baker (born May 30, 1985) is a former American football offensive tackle. He played college football for the University of Southern California (USC), and was a three-time All-American. He was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Baker was born in Tustin, California. He graduated from Tustin High School, where Frostee Rucker, Matt McCoy, Chris Chester, and DeShaun Foster went. He played in the 2003 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Baker attended the University of Southern California, where he played for coach Pete Carroll's USC Trojans football team from 2003 to 2007. He was a first-team All-American as a redshirt sophomore in 2005.
He was on the official 2006 watch list for the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy for the best lineman. In his collegiate career Baker blocked for Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart. He was named a first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference selection by the league's coaches in 2005 and 2006. He was a recognized as a consensus first-team All-American, having received first-team honors from the Football Writers Association of America, Sporting News and CBSSports.com.
Going into his fourth year as a starter, Baker was on the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy watch lists. He was ranked as one of the "Top 20 Players Heading Into 2007" by Sports Illustrated. Before his final season in 2007, Baker was already regarded by most NFL scouts as a certain top-five player in the 2008 NFL Draft.
During the 2007 season, Baker took on a leadership role in the offensive line, taking over the reins from departed senior Ryan Kalil and providing motivation as well as helping teach younger players.
Despite suffering from injuries that held him out of games, Baker was again a first-team All-Pac-10 selection for his third consecutive year. Baker was also named Walter Camp first-team All-American in 2007.
Sam Baker was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round (21st overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft after the Falcons traded two of their second-round picks (No. 34 and No. 48) and a fourth round pick (No. 103) with the Washington Redskins to move to No. 21 overall. On July 25, he signed a multi-year contract. In his rookie year, 2008, Baker started 5 games. On March 13, 2013, Baker re-signed with the Falcons for six years worth $41.5 million, including $18.25 million guaranteed.
Baker's career has been marred by injuries and he has only competed in all 16 games in two seasons (2010 and 2012). He played in four games in 2013 before suffering a torn left patella tendon which sidelined him for the rest of the year.In the second game of the 2014 preseason, Baker suffered a torn patella tendon injury in his right knee, which ended his season. Baker was released on June 15, 2015.
- The awards are voted on by Pac-10 coaches. 2006 All-Pac-10 team, scout.com, November 27, 2006.
- Top 20 Players Heading Into 2007, CNNSI.com, April 24, 2007.
- Len Pasquarelli, Good protection is hard to find, ESPN.com, May 11, 2007.
- Gary Klein, Top of the line, Los Angeles Times, September 21, 2007.
- Pac-10 Football Awards and All-Conference Team Announced, Pacific 10 Conference, December 3, 2007.
- Ledbetter, D. Orlando (August 17, 2014). "Sam Baker out for year with torn patellar tendon". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- Alper, Josh. "Falcons release Sam Baker". Pro Football Talk. Retrieved 16 June 2015.