Baker redshirted his first season at USC, and has been in the starting lineup since stepping on the field. He was a freshmen AA in 2004, then became an All American his sophomore and junior years as well. He enters as one of the top tackle prospects in the nation, and is a Playboy AA. He was injured for a good portion of the season this year with a hamstring problem, but he continued to try and play through it. He was again named to many All American teams, but that probably had more to do with his name than the product on the field.
Baker is an excellent all around offensive tackle prospect. He is a four year starter at left tackle for USC, and has done an excellent job keeping John David Booty and Matt Leinart clean. He is a solid athlete, with the ability to move well laterally, keeping defenders away from his QB in pass protection. Baker is also sound at the point of attack, and can push defenders around to clear out room in the running game.
It is hard to criticize Bakerís game, but if pressed, it is that he does not have any one truly amazing physical trait. He is not a mammoth offensive lineman that can just drive defenders into the ground, and heís not the athletic freak that can mirror every end he faces. He also had knee surgery in January, and will need to prove everything is clear with that as the season approaches.
Sam Baker has slid a bit in some peopleís minds, but that is only because he was injured for half the season. When he played, he was not at 100% and it showed. Since he is not a physical marvel, he will not command a premium selection. If he lasts long into the second round though, he becomes a steal.